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LEXICON

 

 

millipede

Name for a small crawling invertebrate arthropod with a rounded, long segmented wormlike body with two pairs of legs on each segment. It belongs to the genus Diplodata and its name is derived from Latin, meaning thousand (mille) foot (pes ped). Thailand has many different species, yet one kind seems particularly prevalent, and though it is generally referred to as rust-coloured millipede, its body colour may vary from fawn and tawny to black (fig.), with legs in the same or a different colour from that of the body. The brown species, known by the scientific designation Trigoniulus corallinus, is about 15 cm long. They 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.