Wednesday, July 16, 2014

millipedes: the ancient ones

Rumor has it that Lord Roch Vole-Téck, supreme ruler of Mars, visited Ijams' summer Monster! Monster! Nature Day Camp today. He wanted to speak to the Earth Elders, the really old, old ancient ones.

And just who are these elders? 

They are the unassuming, slow-moving millipedes who have roamed this planet for over 420 million years.  These "thousand legged" creatures (none actually have 1,000 legs, but they do have hundreds) are lowly detritivores. They consume detritius, the organic material — dead leaves and plants — that fall to the forest floor, helping to convert it into soil. 

The campers learned the difference between millipedes, harmless vegetarians, and centipedes, carnivores that can sting, sworn enemy of all millipedes. 

FYI: The scientific study of millipedes is known as diplopodology, and a scientist who studies them is called a diplopodologist.

With the help of some future diplopodologists — that would be today's camp kids — and a leaf rake, the Martian ruler Vole-Téck was able to find several handsome Tootsie Roll-sized millipedes, docile creatures to converse with and the kids to study. 

And the Earth was saved once again for the thousand-legged meek to inherit.

Not everything in nature that seems like a monster, be it spider, snake, wolf, bat, hawk, crawdad, vulture or creepy, crawly millipede, is a monster. Monster! Monster! Nature Day Camp is designed to separate the fact from the fiction.

Martian ruler Vole-Téck uses mental telepathy to put thoughts into Camp Counselor Cam's brain. "Take me to your elders," Vole-Téck demands.

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