The fantastic yellow-spotted millipede, Harpaphe haydeniana, roams freely through the coast redwood forest. Often found crawling in the duff on the forest floor, H. Haydeniana is multi-legged invertebrate that demands respect.
When it senses danger, this millepede curls up in a ball and releases the sweet almond scent of hydrogen cyanide. It’s a deadly chemical deterrent and is one to watch out for, especially if you are a beetle hoping to catch a quick meal. For people, the threat is pretty low. That said, I still don’t want to make it angry!
Have you smelled cyanide in the redwoods yet? If you have any great photos of this deadly beast, send them to us at Science@SaveTheRedwoods.org.