Cyanogenic Glandular Apparatus of a Millipede

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  22 Mar 1963:
Vol. 139, Issue 3560, pp. 1218-1220
DOI: 10.1126/science.139.3560.1218


The cyanogenic secretion of the polydesmoid millipede Apheloria corrugata (Wood) is discharged from paired, serially arranged glands, each consisting of two compartments. In one compartment is stored an undissociated cyanogenic compound, and in the other, a chemical factor that triggers cyanogenesis. The gland is constructed in such a way that the contents of the two compartments are mixed, and cyanogenesis is initiated, at the very instant of discharge. The stored cyanide precursor may be mandelonitrile.