When I saw this article I thought it was interesting because I wondered what could make an animal glow in the dark?
For years scientists have been stumped by the Motyxia millipede. This isn’t just any millipede it’s a little different from the rest. This one glows in the dark. Scientists have been baffled at what glowing in the dark does for this millipede. Other animals use this
ability to attract mates, send messages to the same species, or attract prey.
Scientists hypothesized that the millipede used its unique feature as a warning signal, so the glow in the dark ones will be attacked less than the non-luminescent millipedes. For their test they created clay millipedes, half of which they painted with glow in the dark paint. Then they collected real millipedes half of them were covered in paint to conceal them, the other half was left normal.
When they checked in the morning one scientist says it best “It was just… carnage”. What they found was that about a third of all of their millipedes were attacked.
Looking at the results, 4 times as many non-glowing millipedes were attacked than the glowing ones were. In the clay group the non-glowing group was attacked twice as often as the glowing ones were. This shows that their theory was correct.
After the experiment was concluded the team of scientists tried to pinpoint just where the millipedes got their unique glow from. They found that only certain species in the Motyxia genus, in a certain area can glow. The only areas that they found the millipedes were in the Santa Monica, Tehachapi, and the southern Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. Another interesting thing that they found is that some Motyxia millipedes can turn their glow on and off. The one thing that scientist still can’t figure out is how is how exactly the millipedes create their glow.
What could possibly make these millipedes glow? Also what would make predators less likely to attack thesemillipedes? How would something like being able to glow in the dark be passed down in these millipedes? These are many great questions that science may not have answers to yet.