by Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomologist
Although I was a big fan of modern rock in the 1980s and 1990s, I never fell in love with Nine Inch Nails. Whenever I listened to NIИ I usually wanted to say, "yes, yes, Trent, your suburban life sounds very tormented and stuff, but please get to a catchy distorted riff, and you might want to consult Ministry if you need some help with that." I must say, though, that I really dig "Head Like a Hole," especially the chord change in the middle of the chorus. I wish all NIИ sounded like that!
So after I bought and was disappointed by Pretty Hate Machine (I think I sold it so that I could buy a Skinny Puppy album for some properly scary industrial sludge) in 1990, I gave up on NIИ. Which means that I never got around to seeing the sleeve for their "Closer" single (1994) until just a couple of minutes ago. (By the way, if you are not familiar with "Closer," it is absolutely Rated R and NSFW, so beware before you go hunting for it!)
I'm not an expert on millipede identification, but I think that this might be Narceus americanus, sometimes called the North American Millipede. This is the largest millipede that lives in Kentucky, and as far as I know it is the largest millipede in North America. The ones that I have seen haven't been *quite* nine inches long, but I've seen them in the 4-5 inch range. There are also anecdotal/unconfirmed accounts of much larger specimens in the 12 inch range--maybe someone will find a footprint and make a plaster cast of it!
Of course, there are lots of other millipedes in the world, and the millipede that appears on "Closer" could be a foreign species (a good candidate would be one of the large African species that are often kept as pets in the U.S.) that I am not familiar with, or perhaps a close-up of a smaller species from North America. Maybe if the photographer is reading this, they could share with us where they took the picture? More likely: is there a Myriapodologist reading this who can confirm the I.D. of this critter?
Read more about the North American Millipede and its relatives in the KY Critter Files: Millipedes.