Review and photographs by bmathison1972, edited by Dinotoyblog
Arthropleura armata is an extinct species of millipede that lived in North America and Europe during the Carboniferous Period. Millipede figures are rare in toy/model/figure form, and if you have all your fingers intact, you can count on one hand the number of such figures available! Today, for my first ever review on the Dinosaur Toy Blog, I will be assessing the A. armata figure by Paleo-Creatures (created by our very own Jetoar).
Members of the genus Arthropleura are the largest terrestrial arthropods known. The coconut crab, Birgus latro is the largest extant (living) terrestrial arthropod. It is generally believed that A. armata was herbivorous, like modern millipedes. That no mouthparts have yet been found in the fossil record suggests that they may not have been strongly sclerotized, supporting the idea of a diet consisting of soft plant material. The ichnospecies Diplichnites cuithensis is considered to be the footprints left behind by wandering Arthropleura.
Jetoar’s recreation of this species is the second one (known to me) available; the other is by Innovative Kids in the Gone Extinct set of their Groovy Tube Books series. The figure is 6.5 cm long, making it 1:35 in scale for a large individual (members of this genus range from 0.3-2.3 meters long). Like all of Jetoar’s figures, there is exceptional detail in a figure at this scale. Adult A. armata had roughly 30 jointed segments, which is the number Jetoar sculpted into his work. The color is simple, yet plausible for a large terrestrial herbivorous arthropod. Many modern millipedes are aposematically-colored to warn would-be predators that they are poisonous to eat. We have no way of knowing whether A. armata was poisonous or not, but if it was, it might have been more boldly colored. However, given the size and armature of A. armata, it probably had few natural predators, and thus was less-likely to be poisonous.
Like most of Jetoar’s figures, this one comes with a base. There is no method of secure attachment, rather the figure sits loosely on top of the base. For those of you who follow me [bmathison1972 is an inhabitant of our Animal Toy Forum, check out his many threads there! – Ed], you know how much I love figures that come with bases. Jetoar has started adding parts of plastic aquarium plants to his bases, which I think make a fine addition! This base also has what appears to be the log of a felled cycad (or similar plant). The underside of the base has the animal’s name, scale, and Paleo-Creatures brand. The figure also comes with a nice laminated card with descriptions of the animal in English and Spanish.
This figure comes highly recommended, especially to those who like to collect unusual or uncommonly made taxa. The Innovative Kids figure was a bold selection at the time, but lacks the detail of Jetoar’s creation, and is smaller (see last image for a comparison of the two).