MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Do myriapods have blood in their bodies? What colour is their blood?

Date: Mon Jul 17 09:29:59 2006
Posted By: David Richman, Staff, Entomology
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 1152141552.Zo

Apparently at least some (and probably all) myriapods have blood containing
the oxygen-carrying blood pigment hemocyanin, based on copper (rather than
iron as in our blood).  The blood would thus be pale blue in color.  How
widespread this blood pigment is in the myriapods is unknown (they were
apparently only discovered in 1985!), but it seems to be found in both
centipedes and millipedes. Unfortunately all the references are rather


Factbites: Hemocyanin at

Burmester, Thorsten. 2001. Molecular evolution of the arthropod hemocyanin
superfamily, Molecular Biology and Evolution 18:184-195. at:

Jaenicke, E, et al. 1999. Identification, structure, and properties of
hemocyanin from diplopod myriapoda. J. Biol. Chem. 274: 29071-29074. 
Abstract available on line (see Burmester list of references for link). 

Mangum, C. P., J. L. Scott, R. E. L. Black, K. I. Miller, and K. E. van
Holde. 1985. Centipedal hemocyanins: its structure and implication for
arthropod phylogeny. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 82:37213725.

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