Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cyanide millipede

Among the browns and greens of the leaf litter on the forested slope of Watershed Park, a yellow dotted line appears, moving slowly from one rotting leaf to the next. Don't touch him; he will release toxic cyanide if he's annoyed. It has a pleasant, almond scent, but it will irritate your skin. Let him be; he's busy turning last year's leaves to this year's soil.

Harpaphe haydeniana

This one has 19 or 20 segments, but I couldn't count his feet. Males have 30 pairs, and females 31, for a total of 62 feet. Not the thousand that its name implies.


  1. In millipedes it's generally the 7th segment that has the gonopods, so the 7th segment is where you get only one pair of legs in males.

    Yours appears to be male.

  2. Thanks, Sara, I see the segment now. I was counting legs, and they didn't match up, probably because the front ones don't show.


If your comment is on a post older than a week, it will be held for moderation. Sorry about that, but spammers seem to love old posts!

Also, I have word verification on, because I found out that not only do I get spam without it, but it gets passed on to anyone commenting in that thread. Not cool!