Episode 66 – Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede: Seeing Double Dragon

“…and today we’re talking about an animal whose name is click bait and what they smell like will shock you! But more on that later.”

When traipsing along the Mekong in Southeast Asia, you may smell the delicious scent of almonds wafting on the stagnant, humid air. While this may seem like a decadent oasis in a dangerous jungle, use caution! That almond smell may be coming from a small but deadly arthropod on the shore. The dragon millipede is a tasty treat for the jungle’s many voracious predators. So, in order to survive, it needs to cook up a fragrance that will knock ‘em dead here in Life, Death and Taxonomy.


  • The pink dragon millipede is a magnificent magnet Myriapoda with a long slender body and several spindly legs.
  • Each of its many body segments has two legs on the sides, two large spikes on its back, and multiple smaller spikes.
  • Up-close, these spikes look very dragon-esque.
  • The body is more of a dark maroon color while the legs and spikes coming off of it are lighter hot pink.
  • It has a small head with two black antennae.
  • Like other Diplopoda, it’s caboose segment has two backward facing legs that serve to mimic antenna, creating a false head.
  • All in all, i’ll say this millipede is super cool looking.


  • The pink dragon lives in southern China and Thailand.
  • Like other millipedes in the area, it prefers to live in caves where it’s poor eyesight isn’t much of a hinderance.
  • Instead, it gets around using its antennae, feeling for safe paths.
  • If you can’t see predators, dark caves are great places for predators not to see you.
  • However, this millipede is large enough to at least hold its own against other Desmoxytes. It’s the largest member of its genus.

Measure Up

Length – 3 cm (1.2 in) – How many pink dragon’s go into the girth of china’s thickest tree (12m)? Hint: the tree is a Cupressus gigantea (Tibetan cypress) and it’s in World Cypress King Garden in Nyingchi, Western China. Answer: 400 pink dragons


Genus Size: 40 species – How many pink dragon genuses go into the population of China (1.386 billion)? – Hint: China’s population has been steadily rising since the 1960s after the end of the Great Chinese Famine. However, the population boom caused the government to issue a two-child policy in the 70s and then a one-child policy in the 1979, then a two child policy again in 2016. However, after the initial boom, the rate of population growth has been in decline since the institution of these controversial policies. Chinese parents favored boys throughout the 20th century, which led to many daughter being put up for adoption or worse. By 2000, the ratio of males to females in China reached 117:100 and stabilized. By next year, they are projected to have 30 million more males than females in the country. The declining population growth rate and the growing disparity men and women in China has put a population crisis on the horizon. Answer: 34,650,000 genera 

Fast Facts

  • The pink dragon was discovered in 2007. Southern China is an intensely bio-diverse area and in the past several years dozens of new species have been discovered, including six millipedes.
  • Millipedes are often scavengers and detritivores which means the eat decaying plant and animal materials.
  • In dry seasons, when decaying plant matter becomes dry and brittle, they may eat living plants.
  • When it rains, millipedes get friendly and can be found in large groups.
  • Though adults walk around in the open, researcher believe that juveniles live underground because they are rarely seen.