Trivia

Hard

Some Species Of Which Of These Animals Can Kill Predators With Lethal Cyanide Doses?

Sea Urchins
Cobras
Millipedes
Spiders
Photo of a millipede crawling on a rotting tree stump.
Bob Walker/Wikimedia

Answer: Millipedes

The world is filled with deadly (but tiny!) creatures that should really make us appreciate how small they are, how big we are, and how we’ll never be chased down an alley by them.

Among those creatures are millipedes. While many millipede species have defenses as benign as curling up into a tightly armored ball to avoid predators, many of them have more deadly defenses. Members of the Glomerida and Helminthomorpha orders of millipedes, for example, have developed a wide variety of chemical weapons to use against predators including the secretion of caustic and poisonous compounds.

The most potent chemical weapon, however, isn’t found in the two aforementioned orders, but in the Polydesmida order, whose numerous species are able to produce hydrogen cyanide in doses high enough to kill birds and small mammals. Even more fascinating, the millipedes have evolved a very strong resistance to cyanide, making them immune to their own weapon—they can release the hydrogen cyanide in an enclosed space, kill the creature preying on them, and scurry away unharmed.

Trivia

Hard

Johnny Appleseed’s Goal In Planting Apple Trees Was To?

Trivia

Hard

The Aluminum Christmas Tree Fad Was Cut Short By?

Trivia

Hard

Which Sci-Fi Star Was Granted The Honorary Rank Of Air Force Brigadier General?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Sweet Treats Was Originally Made From Sap?

Trivia

Hard

Which Spacecraft Was The First To Autonomously Return Extraterrestrial Samples to Earth?

Trivia

Easy

Which Of These Animals Is, Unlike Nearly Every Other Mammal On Earth, Mite Free?

Trivia

Easy

How Do Astronauts Cast Their Votes From Space?

Trivia

Hard

Which Sci-Fi Movie Featured A Cameo Appearance By The Millennium Falcon?

Trivia

Very Hard

What Technology Company Was Almost Called “Syzygy”?

Trivia

Hard

Who Coined The Term “Mullet” To Describe The Short-In-Front/Long-In-Back Hairstyle?