A photograph of a Giant millipede.

Giant millipedes can reach 30cm in length.

Millipedes (mil = 1,000, pedes = feet) do not have 1,000 legs but they can have over 250.

Millipedes are often grouped with the centipedes as the Myriapoda, but actually belong to a distinct group called the Diplopoda; hence Myriapoda is an artificial group and it is better not to use it.

They resemble centipedes in that they have a distinct head and many repeated segments in the body. However, the details of structure are very different. The easiest way of recognising them is to look at the legs. Most segments of the body appear to have two pairs of legs. The body is also more rounded in cross section, whereas the centipedes are more flattened.

General structure of a millipede

An illustration of the general structure of a millipede.

Note that there are two pairs of legs per body segment as shown by the diagram above and the cross section and photograph below.

Cross section of a body segment of a millipede .

An illustration of a cross section of a millipede body segment.

Close up of millipede body segments.

Close up photograph of millipede body segments showing two pairs of legs per segment.

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