Sunday, December 4, 2011


I wasn’t paying much attention to the millipedes when I added them to the terrarium and later discovered that I have two different types. The smooth glossy smaller one that was feeding with the Camel Cricket I believe is in the family Parajulidae (order Julida). It is one of the most common type found in the U.S.

The other one is larger, and more textured and I think it is in the genus Abacion (Callipodida: Abacionidae) maybe Abacion magnum. To me it is by far the most interesting one and I find it crawling about all the time. It seems to always have a place to go.

They are both in the class Diplopoda and most of their body segments have two pairs of legs. Look at the underside of this one as it crawled along the glass and you can see how the legs are paired up. The name “millipede” is from the Latin “mille” meaning thousand and “pes” meaning foot, thus a thousand foots. But in reality they only have between 36 and 400 legs that become a blur when they walk.

They generally do not bite and just scavenge around for food. Some, however, do release noxious or toxic fluids when handled but I’ve never experienced that. It is the centipedes that bite and I try to stay away from.

Their diet consists of decaying leaves and dead plant matter. When the leaves are moist they scrap it with their jaws. And as we now know they also eat fresh mushrooms.

I had a difficult time finding information on millipedes so they could be a good species to study.

Be sure to check back later for more from the winter terrarium.


Martina said...

Your winter terrarium series is fascinating - rarely one finds good text combined with good photos.
I am looking forward to the next postings!

squirrel said...

Martina you are the master of choosing the right text to go with your photos. I love your blog, it is so creative.