Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Wednesday Wildlife - Millipedes

Black Millipede - Tachypodioulus niger

There are 68 species of millipede recorded in the British isles but there may as yet be other unrecorded species. One species Unciger foetidus is known ‘only from Dick Jones’s garden in Norfolk’. Another, Anthogona britannica, was found at Slapton Ley in Devon in 1993 – it has not been recorded anywhere else in the world.

Polydesmus species

Although millipede means ‘thousand feet’ most millipedes possess fewer than 50 legs but one remarkable foreign species does have 750 legs (375 pair). Their resemblance to a ship with its rows of oars have also given rise to the name of galley worm. Some millipedes can live up to 11 years in captivity.

Unlike centipedes – which are carnivores – millipedes feed on dead organic matter such as decaying leaves.

Pill Millipede – Glomeris marginata

Millipedes contain various noxious chemicals designed to deter predators and the pill millipede secretes glomerin, a chemical related to the synthetic chemical quaalude used as a sedative in hospitals. Some species are known to smell of bitter almonds as they release cyanide as a deterrent against predators.

Spotted Snake Millipede - Blaniulus guttulatus

The Spotted Snake Millipede is considered to be a pest of stored potatoes. the spots are stink glands.


  1. Ewwwww. (To the millipedes...)
    Very informative post, though!

  2. One of your less endearing posts CJ


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