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Suffolk millipede.jpg
Cylindroiulus caeruleocinctus
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Eumetazoa
Phylum Information
Superphylum Ecdysozoa
Phylum Arthropoda
Sub-phylum Myriapoda
Class Information
Class Diplopoda
Population statistics

The Millipede is an arthropod, belonging to the class Diplopoda (of which there are about 1o,ooo species in all). The millipede has its home in and eats from the rotting bodies of plants—they thrive in moist areas.[1] Some species are harmful to living vegetation while others prey on living or decayed animals.[2]


Although this may seem impossible without wings, Millipede actually migrate in the fall and sometimes in heavy rain. When they return, homeowners often find them trying the enter their basements by climbing their foundations, and entering through vents, windows, and doors, sometimes in fair quantities. They thrive in the damp darkness of basements, but will sometimes come up into residence areas of homes. For this reason, they are sometimes considered pests.[1]


The group’s typical aspect is its diplosomites. Their bodies have about 200 pairs of legs. Each diplosomite has two legs, with the exception of the legless first section and the next three sections, each with a single pair of legs. Additionally, every diplosomite, with the exception of the first four, has two pairs of internal organs (i.e., two pairs of ganglia and two pairs of heart arteries). The head has antennae, eyes (called ocelli), and one maxilla. The length varies from 0.2 to 28 cm. The amount of segments ranges from 11 to over 100 in certain species. Except for one order, every order of millipedes are covered with calcareous dorsal plates. Instead of biting, most defend themselves by tucking their heads into a tight coil with their outer skeleton shown, while others discharge a poisonous fluid from lateral glands.[2]


Class Diplopoda

  • Order Callipodida - crested millipedes
Family Abacionidae
Family Schizopetalidae
  • Order Chordeumatida - Kazakhstani millipedes
Family Anthroleucosomatidae
Family Caseyidae
Family Cleidogonidae
Family Conotylidae
Family Striariidae
Family Tingupidae
Family Trichopetalidae
  • Order Julida - julid millipedes
Family Blaniulidae
Family Julidae
Family Parajulidae
Family Paeromopodidae
  • Order Platydesmida - flat millipedes
Family Andrognathidae
  • Order Polydesmida - flat-backed millipedes
Family Eurymerodesmidae
Family Euryuridae
Family Macrosternodesmidae
Family Nearctodesmidae
Family Paradoxosomatidae
Family Polydesmidae
Family Pyrgodesmidae
Family Sphaeriodesmidae
Family Xystodesmidae
  • Order Polyxenida - bristly millipedes
Family Polyxenidae
  • Order Polyzoniida - leech-shaped millipedes
Family Hirudisomatidae
Family Polyzoniidae
  • Order Spirobolida - round-backed millipedes
Family Atopetholidae
Family Rhinocricidae
Family Spirobolidae
Family Trigoniulidae
  • Order Spirostreptida - cylindrical millipedes
Family Cambalidae
Family Choctellidae
Family Spirostreptidae

About Other Diplopoda

The class also includes: the one inch Julus terrestris, a species native to Europe and brought to North America, and the smooth-bodied forms frequently called wireworms. A few colorful millipedes have no eyes, such as the 2.5 cm Oxidus gracilis. One of the most common forms is the 10 cm Narceus americanus found in forests of the U.S. southeast . Archispirostreptus gigas, native to subtropical Africa, is the largest living species, growing to around 28 cm.[2]