Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Millipedes deserve better

Millipedes! They’re a very cool and often neglected class of arthropod. People often think of them in the same way they do about their fast-moving aggressive cousin the centipede who, although interesting, does not hold the same place in the heart of this writer. I have found that for some reason people are quick to say they are “creeped-out” or disgusted by these creatures without really getting to know one. Millipedes are slow moving decomposers or herbivores, not like the fast carnivorous centipede. Millipedes don’t bite. Their only defense is to curl up in a ball and excrete a foul liquid. But that is not to say they can’t be handled if you are gentle. Millipedes make wonderful pets because they are fun to watch and easy to keep healthy. Another interesting fact about our friendly diplopods is that they are very old. In fact, the oldest fossil of an animal with organs specifically for breathing on land is a millipede. In conclusion, next time you find yourself confronted with a millipede reserve your judgment for after you become properly acquainted with it.


  1. Wikipedia says that the oldest known land-critter was Pneumodesmus newmani, which was a millipede. Very cool stuff. I read somewhere else that the oldest land-critters may have been early-spider-like creatures (Trigonotarbida), but the millipede theory seems more likely. Either way, arthropods conquered the world!

  2. I agree with you Ryan. Millipedes are often neglect by many people. Personally, I find millipedes to be cute.