Genus Diplopoda



Millipedes are scavengers who primarily seek a meal of decaying organic matter, though will also feed on young plants on occasion. Millipedes need moisture and tend to be shy, hiding under objects during the day. They usually will make their home around buildings, under mulch and leaves, in compost heaps, under flower pots and along the grassy edge that joins sidewalks and foundations.

Millipedes range from brown to black in color, resemble worms, are segmented and slow. Each body segment has two pairs of legs. They range in size from 1/4 to 1 inch long and will coil up when threatened. Females will lay a few hundred eggs in the soil, leaf litter, compost heap, etc. and hatchlings will pass through a series of molts before reaching maturity. Some species of Millipede live as long as 5 to 6 years.


Millipedes do not have a poisonous bite, but many protect themselves by offensive odors produced by stink glands; some produce highly irritating compounds that can injure the skin or eyes of attackers; and some can roll up into a ball or spiral for protection. (Factoid Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition)