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Old 07-02-2013, 08:20 AM
 
154 posts, read 588,979 times
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I just witnessed a fascinating battle in my yard and I regret I didn't have the proper camera equipment to film it. I noticed movement in the leaves by my foot and worried about snakes, I took a closer look. It was a millipede and it was acting berserk: racing around, coiling and uncoiling, running under the leaves and then emerging. It was under attack by a pack of about twenty tiny gnats. A few would land on the millipede, and the millipede would writhe around or dive under the leaves to get rid of them. The gnats were put off only temporarily, then would mass for another attack. It looked a lot like documentary footage of wolves chasing a caribou in the snow, or wild dogs pursuing a wildebeest.

What's really strange is that millipedes have a very tough outer shell; they coil up like armadillos to protect themselves from predators. But only a couple of gnats landing on the millipede's back were enough to drive it crazy. How did it even know they were there, and what were they doing to the poor thing? So far I haven't found any answers -- are there any gnat specialists out there?
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:21 PM
bjh
Status: "Keep calm and carry on." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
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Interesting. Sounds like an epic battle, if you're a millipede.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:27 PM
 
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I am not a gnat specialist, but there are some insects that lay their eggs in the bodies of other fauna. Perhaps they were trying to lay eggs vs. consume the millipede? Interesting observation either way. Which state was this?
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJmmadude;30329272[COLOR=Red
]I am not a gnat specialist, but there are some insects that lay their eggs in the bodies of other fauna. Perhaps they were trying to lay eggs vs. consume the millipede?[/color]
Ahh -- good idea! I wonder whether they were giving off a scent or something -- I can't figure out how the millipede knew they were after it. It was certainly intent on getting away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJmmadude;30329272[COLOR=Red
]Interesting observation either way. Which state was this?[/color]
N. CA Sierra foothills.
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Old 09-12-2016, 09:17 PM
 
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Post Same thing

I just witnessed this in northeastern PA, just two days ago. I too regretted not getting any video of the incident. The poor millipede was being attacked relentlessly, and I didn't think a gnat would have any reason to be trying to take down a millipede. This millipede was not an adult, it was a young millipede. It was moving very quick, and trying to get the gnats off by rubbing against small pieces of vegetation or curling up, but with no relief from the gnats.

They were behaving like social insects attacking the millipede, but I didn't stop my hike to watch the whole ordeal so I never saw the end result of the attack.

This was the first response to my google search. Now I'm looking for parasites of millipedes. I knew lightning bugs were an issue for millipedes, but I didn't know about gnats. I found this recent article on the gnats laying their eggs in the millipede, attracted to the millipede because of the scent it gives off while under attack/stress. Glad I'm not the only one that's witnessed the gentle millipede being wrangled relentlessly by small flies. I felt horrible for the millipede though.

Love learning something new:
https://newspecieschallenge.wordpres...eir-parasites/
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Old 09-13-2016, 04:30 AM
 
167 posts, read 82,853 times
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Good info, I didn't know that either. Fascinating.

It sucks to be a bug. A few months ago I saw this youtube video of a zombie praying mantis that had a parasite worm inside of him which was controlling his brain, forcing him to commit suicide.
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Old 09-13-2016, 12:22 PM
 
Location: San Diego
38,189 posts, read 34,229,170 times
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https://newspecieschallenge.wordpres...eir-parasites/
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