Let’s have a little fun, a little learning and a little YIKES! today with the MILLIPEDE:
You would think from its name that the Millipede has a thousand legs… (from the Latin mille + ped = thousand foot).
The Millipede may look like it has 1,000 legs, but the average Millipede has between 80 and 400 legs. I’d say that’s still a YIKES!
The Millipede is a medium to large-sized invertebrate with a long cylindrical or flattened body. Its body is made of segmented sections, which makes it move in a wave-like motion. It is generally brown or black in color.
But the Millipede’s number of legs is its most intriguing characteristic. Its legs are short and don’t move too quickly, but those same legs are great for burrowing, wedging and boring into soil. All of this burrowing, wedging and boring is important for the Millipede’s food supply and habitat. The Millipede feeds on decaying organic matter (larger Millipedes eat insects) and loves cool, dark, damp places… such as under rocks or in rotting logs.
The Millipede also has a very interesting defense mechanism. Unable to move quickly, the Millipede curls into a tight coil or spiral when threatened… and also is capable of emitting a poisonous secretion through its odoriferous glands. YIKES! The birds and small rodents that prey upon the Millipede may be the recipients of this secretion.
The Millipede is not considered a danger to human beings, but its poisonous secretion can certainly irritate skin. The best advice is to NOT handle a Millipede.
Introduce your kids and grandkids to the Millipede… from a safe distance! The “thousand leg” thing fascinates kids. Why not research the Giant African Millipede… which can grow to 12 inches or more. YIKES!
Join me each day in June for JUNE BUGS on 365 Days of Literacy for Kids! – a little fun, a little learning and a little YIKES!