Latin name: Diplopoda
Average lifespan: up to 7 years.
Size: avrage of 20 cm
Millipedes are not insects but arthropods because they have more than 6 legs. They actually have many legs, depending on his size it has somewhere between 80 and 400 legs. Even though they have that many legs, they are slow movers. There are over 10.000 species of millipedes on this planet. You can find millipedes all around the world except in the cold Polar Regions.
What does a Millipede look like?
The Millipedes have long, round bodies that have many parts or segments with short walking legs. They can grow from 2 centimetre to 28 centimetres (11 inches) in length. They have a rounded head with a pair of antennae and a pair of eyes on the sides of their head. Their insides are protected by an exoskeleton, a hard outer shell, like a skeleton on the outside. Most of the body segments have 2 pairs of legs; only the body segment after the head has no legs.
They can grow to be 11 inches in length.
Most Millipedes have a dull black or brown color and are rather small, a few tropical species have very bright colors like red and orange and can grow to be 30 cm (1 foot) long. When you find a millipede they will always try to run away, despite of their many legs they are rather slow walkers. The many feet actually slow them down, when they walk they move several legs at a time in wave like motion.
Millipedes do not bite and are harmless, but when you pick them up they will produce a defensive fluid that stinks badly and can irritate the skin.
Where do Millipedes live?
Millipedes can be found all over the world mostly in the warmer regions. They live in cool damp places and you can find them outdoors under rocks, dead leaves, needles and rotting logs. In Australia the millipedes multiply so much that they become a plague, they can ruin crops, invade houses where they can contaminate food, ruin carpets and bedding.
What does a Millipede eat?
Even though the millipede is an omnivore, they mainly feed on dead plants and other decaying matter on the ground. They prefer to eat roots, plant buds and flowers. Sometimes they feed on living plants and large millipedes even hunt insects and earthworms. Some millipedes have mouth parts which they use to puncture plants, then they will eat the juices that flow from the puncture. They are very slow eaters, many first moisten their food before they eat it.
What are the natural enemies of millipedes?
Millipedes have many enemies like toads, birds, badgers, scorpions, insects, foxes and small rodents like rats. When attacked some millipedes will curl themselves into a ball. Others have poisonous claws or fangs that can kill or disable the enemy. When an enemy grabs a millipede leg, the millipede will drop its leg entirely in order to escape and in time the legs will grow back. In other cases the millipede will simply stink its way out by releasing reeking fluids from its glands which will keep away predators.
Did you know about these Millipede facts?
Millipede literally means "thousand feet," but they only have between 80 and 400 legs.
No species of millipede has more than 750 legs
Centipedes and millipedes are not the same, the leg structure is different and their physical features are different from one another.
They have a very poor eyesight and some species are completely blind.
Some milipede species can lay about 1000 eggs at a time.
Capuchin monkeys love to annoy millipedes, because the millipede will spray their chemicals on the monkeys fur and that works as a great mosquito repellent.
The longest millipede on record was 15 inches in length
The giant African millipede can grow up to 15 inches in length. It is also known as 'jungle train' or 'chongololo'.
Download free Millipede wallpapers, click on the image to open the large version.
Millipede wallpaper 1
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Millipede wallpaper 3
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Millipede wallpaper 6
Millipede Coloring pages
Print free Millipede coloring pages, click on the image to open the large version.