|“||Arthropleura. He's a distant relative of modern Millipedes and Centipedes, but as long as a car. He can rear up tall enough to look you right in the eye.||„|
|— Allen, about Arthropleura|
Arthropleura (name meaning "Jointed Ribs") is a genus of centipede-like arthropleurid myriapod arthropod, giving its name to its family, that originated during the Carboniferous period in North America and Great Britain.
A distant relative of modern millipedes and centipedes more than 3 meters long, it was the largest known of all the terrestrial arthropods ever to live as well as the largest land invertebrate of all time, and grew so large because of the high concentration of oxygen level in the Carboniferous's atmosphere.
Arthropleura was herbivorous, in fact, one of the first mainly herbivorous terrestrial animals. They had strong jaws, but it is unlikely that it may have been poisonous for defense.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Arthropleura lived in the Carboniferous forests, approximately 350-280 million years ago. It lived alongside other animals like Mesothelae spiders, giant scorpions, Meganeura, and even primitive reptiles and giant predatory amphibians. Since their discovery in 1854, there are many fossilized footprints from Arthropleura can been found on the coast of Scotland in the Scottish land of Arron.
Arthropluerawas among the biggest insect of the Carboniferous and was overall the largest insect that ever lived, measuring between 6.6–10 feet (2–3 m) long, as big as a man/crocodile and as long as a car. However, some rarer specimens were discovered to grow about 20 feet (6 m) in length. The reason why they were able to grow so big is because the oxygen level was 50% higher than it is today. The high oxygen level in the Carboniferous Period allowed this creature (and many others) to grow to very large sizes. In addition, males and female were different in appearance. Arthropluera was arguably the largest known land invertebrate of all time, and would have had few predators (If any as an adult.)
Arthropleura is the biggest land arthropod known, a huge relative of the modern millipedes closely resembling a giant centipede or millipede. The reason why they were able to grow so big is because the oxygen level was 50% higher than it is today. The higher oxygen content in the atmosphere could support larger species whose circulatory system was not as efficient as those of mammals and other species.
Arthropleura was heavily defended by thick, tough, and wide armor plating along its back. Underneath its armor were lots of small legs and a soft underbelly. On its head, it had two pincers and two antennae. The color of Arthropleura varied. Some of them were red with yellow lines whilst some were brown with yellow lines. The body of the Arthopleura was composed of thirty armored plates, which each had a pair of legs under them. However, it was not invincible as large amphibians, like Proterogyrinus, could relatively easily get the better of it. Even its own environment could threaten it. Sharp rocks could easily impale Arthropleura and the superpowered Carboniferous storms were often devastating to Arthropleura as well as other animals.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Arthropleura was a solitary creature, often foraging on the forest floors of the Carboniferous. Arthropleura was a massive arthropod that they were such powerful beasts. In spite of its daunting appearance, it as a herbivore, feeding on the rotting foliage, dead wood and leaves on the floor of the steamy Carboniferous Period swamp forests. Although later found out they were vegetarians, their strong jaws can still have delivered a nasty bite.
Arthropleura were herbivorous though when they were juveniles, they ate meat because they couldn't digest plants until they grew older. Arthropleura was one of the first animals to eat plants, they had strong jaws, but it is unlikely that it may have been poisonous for defense. Arthropleura was practically blind, but had a good sense of smell and touch through which to detect other animals. It is discovered that while Arthropleura was a timid creature, it was also shown to be highly aggressive and could be easily provoked into attacking.
Most Arthropleura lived in piles of leaves or foliage or in small underground dens whilst some lived out in the open. As its body armor was coloured similar to its surroundings, Arthropleura was camouflaged. However, its armour couldn't protect it from the Carboniferous forest fires. Although the animal would often crouch for cover on the ground, most of the time it was burned alive.
When it comes to fighting, their armor was their best defense unless it got split. Much like cobras, Arthropleura could rear up at its opponent so it could tower over it, tall enough to look humans right in the eye. And that rearing up was obviously a defensive reaction. However, rearing up would expose its soft innards and were a bulls-eye for predators. They could spray like modern millipedes and centipedes. They could secrete cyanide. That smells of almonds and when they spray in the eyes of their enemies, and it really burned.
Additionally, Arthropleura possessed a deadly venom, injected into a victim through a long, thin, metallic-looking tube located behind its mandibles, in a similar manner to an insect bite. When a large mammal such as a human was poisoned by an Arthropleura, the venom would slowly attack their central nervous system, putting the bitten victim into a state of uncontrollable shaking and convulsion very shortly after being bitten, and rendering them barely able to move, before they lost consciousness after a while. An antivenin could be derived from pure samples of Arthropleura venom, but without this antidote, poisoned humans would have a zero chance of survival, dying a matter of hours after being bitten. If one did survive and recover from an Arthropleura's venomous bite, then they would still be left with short-term memory loss.