Friday, May 4, 2012

New River millipedes

A "cherry-scented" millipede in the genus Sigmoria or some closely related genus delights one of our attendees on a recent New River Birding & Nature Festival field trip. The West Virginia forests abound with these many-legged arthropods this year. While rather creepy in appearance, these sluggish herbivores are harmless. Pick one up, give it a gentle shake, and you'll be rewarded by the sweet aroma of freshly plucked cherries. They secrete hydrogen cyanide as a defensive tactic, and while that probably thwarts some would be predators, it smells mighty good to us.

Today was another 15 hour field day and I just haven't had time to download and sort the many photos I've snapped. We had some GOOD stuff today, including a feeding frenzy of Red Crossbills, and a very cooperative Mourning Warbler, among MANY other cool sightings. Photos to follow...

1 comment:

Derek Hennen said...

I hope you brought along a UV flashlight--those millipedes fluoresce a pretty blue/green color.