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LEXICON

 

 

millipede

Name for a group of small crawling invertebrate arthropods that belong to the class Diplopoda. The common name is a compound from the Latin words mille, meaning thousand, and ped which means foot. The most commonly found type in Southeast Asia, are those of the order Spirobolida, the so-called round-backed millipedes, with a rounded, long segmented wormlike body, with two pairs of legs on each segment. Thailand has many different species, yet one kind seems particularly prevalent, and though it is generally referred to as Rusty Millipede or Rust-coloured Millipede, its body colour may actually vary from fawn and tawny to black (fig.) and is hence also commonly referred to as Common Asian Millipede, and with the scientific designation Trigoniulus corallinus. Its legs are either in the same colour or in a different colour from that of the body, and though variable in size, it is typically about 15 cm long. Millipedes live in damp, dark places, feeding mainly on rotting vegetation, such as decaying leaves, fruits (fig.) and other dead plant matter,  as well as on mushrooms. When they are or feel threatened they will curl up into a spiral and stay still (fig.). Whilst most species are harmless, some have a poisonous sting or bite, whilst some can excrete an offensive odour. In the mating season, they come out of their hiding places, often in large quantities, in order to find a partner to mate (fig.), and in the process can even be found climbing obstacles they would normally rather avoid, such as trees (fig.), termite mounts, etc. Also milliped, millepede and milleped. In Thai named king keuh. Millipedes are similar to centipedes (fig.), but centipedes are insect eaters, whereas millipedes are vegetarians, and while centipedes have just one set of legs per segment, millipedes have two sets of legs per segment, as well as more segments. See also dragon millipede and WILDLIFE PICTURES.