Other names: Millipede
Latin name: Myriapoda
size: 5 - 30cm (depending on the species)
Older: 1 - 10 years (depending on the species)
Appearance: brown, black, red
Sexual dimorphism: No
food: dead plant material
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: twilight and nocturnal
natural enemies: Ants, rodents, birds
sexual maturityafter about a year
mating season: all year round
social behavior: Loners
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the millipede
- The centipedes or Myriapoda belong to the group of arthropods and are related by their Tracheenatmung with the insects. They are represented on all continents of the earth and can be found in temperate climates as well as in the tropics and subtropics.
- There are about 13,000 known species worldwide, some of which already inhabited the earth 400 million years ago. Most belong to the genus Diplopoden, which carry a pair of double legs on each body segment.
- The name centipede is actually misleading, because none of the known species has so many legs. With a total of 750 limbs, the only 3.5 centimeters long California centipede or Illacme plenipes is the front runner. Usually, the number of legs in the two- or three-digit range, many species even have less than ten limbs.
- Centipedes can be up to about thirty centimeters long, depending on the species, from a few millimeters, with the large species living exclusively in the tropics.
- Accordingly, the food spectrum of the centipedes is correspondingly broad. While the European species feed primarily on dead plant material, the tropical centipedes can also eat insects and worms.
- The largest centipede ever to live on Earth reached a length of two meters and hunted prey the size of deer.
- All millipedes share the same structure of their long body. This consists of the head capsule with antennas and mouthparts and the trunk with the segments that carry the legs. Some species have a hard shell of quinine, others a soft and unprotected body.
- Soil dwellers feed on most types of organic plant waste, which they decompose and then excrete. Thus, they contribute significantly to the fertility of the soil in which they live.
- Some tropical subspecies that belong to the genus bandfish, defend themselves against attackers such as reptiles, scorpions or birds with a blue-acidic toxin or mucous membrane irritants that secrete them from glands. Others warn predators by sparkling greenish in the dark. This transforms the forest floor into a shining sea of lights.
- Centipedes need a moist and dark environment to survive. Therefore, they are primarily in rotten wood, in the undergrowth of forests or in compost on.
- Centipedes are known for their pronounced mating behavior as males and females wrap around each other for several hours. After the female has deposited up to three hundred eggs, it often dies.
- In ideal weather conditions and good food supply, some species multiply explosively and can become veritable plagues.