I often see large millipedes on the pavement, perhaps 15 cm long, glossy black, with rippling rows of legs. They’re pretty harmless, unlike the local centipedes which are highly venomous.

Researchers, however, have recently discovered a new poisonous millipede here in Thailand which goes by the alluring name of “The Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede”. It’s about 3 cm long, very spiny, and it smells of almonds, the result of the hydrogen cyanide it produces for self-defence. It’s also (as the name suggests) bright pink. So deadly is it that it rests in the open, unafraid of predators. Indeed, its colour is almost certainly aposematic.

Here’s a picture of two of them making baby millipedes. The male is on top.

Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede

[Photograph from H. Enghoff et al. (2007), The shocking pink dragon millipede, Desmoxytes purpurosea, a colourful new species from Thailand (Diplopoda: Polydesmida: Paradoxosomatidae), Zootaxa 1567, pp.31-36]