Millipedes (Class Diplopoda)

North American Millipede








MIllipedes are segmented and tube-shaped with 2 sets of paired legs per segment.  They belong to Class Diplopoda which is very diverse in appearance, but the species that are common around College Woods are brown and can range from 1-2 inches. Millipedes do not bite. Instead, they have hard dorsal plates that they use for defense. They also curl up in a ball when threatened.

Sometimes centipedes are confused with millipedes, however centipedes are much faster than millipedes. Centipedes also have flattened bodies while millipedes have tube-shaped bodies.  See the image below for more details on anatomical differences.



Millipedes prefer damp cool envrionements like under logs, rocks, and leaf litter. 


Millipedes are detrivores (debris eaters) which means they break down organic matter and play a crucial role in soil cycling. They play a similar ecological role to earthworms. 

Fun Fact: 

Millipede means "a thousand feet" in Latin.


Image Sources: