Dendroboard banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A post by pdfDMD post got me thinking about the life cycles of millipedes and centipedes, and about the differences between the two, so I did a bit of digging.

Millipedes

The most common millipedes are dark brown and reach 1 to 1 1/2 inches when full grown. They are round and elongated, with many small legs. They are slow moving, having two pairs per body segment, except for the first three segments of their bodies, which have one pair each. Their legs are found underneath their bodies, ie. they can't be seen from above.

When dead or disturbed, they tend to curl into a tight coil.

Millipedes do not bite or pose any danger to us humans or our frogs. They are mostly scavengers, feeding on rotting organic matter such as leaves and wood. Rarely will they feed on tender green leaves and roots. While they will compete for food with our springtails and isopods, they will not usually our frog's eggs. They prefer to spend most of their time in moist areas, such as under rocks or logs and in lawn thatch. The right species of guys might make interesting additions to our tanks, but I thing only the young might end up as a food source.




Duff Millipede
There is one millipede that I found that might be useful as a food source. It is know as the Duff Millipede.

Polyxenus lagurus



It is an unusual species which is found primarily in damp pine forested areas particularly around the bark of certain trees and around black ants.

The critter reaches only 1/8 inch long and feeds on algae, fungi and decaying organic matter.

They look like tiny caterpillars as they are covered with fine bristles and have a tufts of hair protruding from their hind end. Superficially, they look similar to tiny carpet beetle larvae, but they have far more legs than do carpet beetles. Duff millipedes are harmless, their feeding habits would prevent them from damaging any household materials.

Duff millipedes go through seven immature stages, gradually increasing in size and segmentation with each molt, before reaching the adult form. Development of a common species that occurs in the cool forest conditions of Scandanavia (Polyxenus lagrus), they take about 10 months to reach the adult stage and adults live for about 3 months. Breeding may occur in spring and again in autumn producing two peaks of adult activity during the season. It is not known if this similar pattern is present among duff millipedes in the western states like Colorado and Wyoming.

Unlike most millipedes the body of the duff is not hardened (calcified) and they lack chemical defenses. They protect themselves from attack by means of the hairs that protrude from the tip of the abdomen which are hooked and can readily detach when the duff millipede is attacked.

Because they like damp environments, and because they are a scavenger, feeding on mold, algae and fungi under and around the bark of conifer trees (and a few other trees), and because they don't have the typical chemical defenses, I think they might do well as another food source along with springtails and isopods if we can cultivate them.

These guys might be great in our tanks, feeding on Bark mulch, or ABG Mix.
The only draw back I see is their long, 10 month maturation / life cycle. They do seem to have a bloom in the correct conditions because they will invade a home in high numbers looking for water. They die off quickly if they don't find a moisture source.

Home invasion Question




Centipedes

In general appearance, centipedes superficially resemble millipedes. However, there are many important differences. entipedes have one pair of legs per body segment, while millipedes have two pairs on most of their segments. A centipede's legs are usually quite prominent, sticking out from the sides. Centipedes are fast, being far more active than millipedes. Most have bodies that are flattened and elongated. Being light phobic, they can be seen darting for cover when a light is turned on in a dark room.

Centipedes are mostly predatory, feeding on small Insects like springtails and isopods and other arthropods (the frog food we are trying to cultivate in our tanks). They are also known to eat frog eggs. These guys we do not want in our tanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
725 Posts
cool read! i've often found myself intrigued by millipedes, yet fearful of centipedes. probably because of the giant rain forest ones that eat small children often seen on the discovery channel hahaha. thanks for sharing

Ryan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,318 Posts
You may want to include Geophilomorpha centipedes as they don't predate on vertebrates or eggs but do feed on molluscs, worms, (possibly nemerteans), and some soft bodied invertebrates.

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You may want to include Geophilomorpha centipedes as they don't predate on vertebrates or eggs but do feed on molluscs, worms, (possibly nemerteans), and some soft bodied invertebrates.

Ed
The soil centipedes are an interesting group. My understanding was that they mostly burrow through the soil looking for and feeding mainly on earth worms. Do you know if they would feed upon slugs on the surface?

They might be a cool way of controlling Nematodes, but most centipedes are generalist predators meaning that they adapt to eat a variety of different available prey items. Do you know if they would die out if they ate all of the prey, or would they adapt and start to go for frog eggs.

Here is a cool photo guide for them.
Order Geophilomorpha - Soil Centipedes A photo guide of different species.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Millipedes Defenses

Due to a Millipede's lack of speed and their inability to bite or sting, most millipedes' use a primary defense mechanism which is to curl into a tight coil thus protecting their delicate legs inside an armored body exterior. Many species also emit poisonous liquid secretions or hydrogen cyanide gas through microscopic pores called odoriferous glands along the sides of their bodies as a secondary defense.

I have been doing a lot of reading trying to find which millipedes do not secrete any noxious chemicals. So far the only one that I have found is the Duff Millipede.


This is a cool looking Pill Millipede.



Decent Millipede informational site.

Cool photos for different millipedes with some information about their care.



The following is best overall article about Millipedes that I could find.
Millipedes

Does anyone know of any other millipede species that don't exude noxious chemicals?

This one when disturbed they give off copious amounts of hydrogen cyanide
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
440 Posts
I'm glad this discussion is being raised. I love to push the envelope on what can, and cannot be done. I always thought that all millipedes in a terrarium was a bad thing, because of their habit of feeding on live plants. That goes to show you you learn some new everyday.:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,318 Posts
The soil centipedes are an interesting group. My understanding was that they mostly burrow through the soil looking for and feeding mainly on earth worms. Do you know if they would feed upon slugs on the surface?

They might be a cool way of controlling Nematodes, but most centipedes are generalist predators meaning that they adapt to eat a variety of different available prey items. Do you know if they would die out if they ate all of the prey, or would they adapt and start to go for frog eggs.

Here is a cool photo guide for them.
Order Geophilomorpha - Soil Centipedes A photo guide of different species.
Hi Dave,

With that group, they actually begin to feed on detritus and occasionally plant matter if thier isn't any invertebrate prey available. They are reported feeding on slugs and snails and they do come to the surface. Many of the ones in that group are small compared to what people consider a centipede... for example the ones local to me are thinner than a toothpick and about the same length... I have a hard time thinking that our enclosures would ever have a reduced enough amount of prey that would result in thier attempting to adapt to eggs.

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Dave,

With that group, they actually begin to feed on detritus and occasionally plant matter if thier isn't any invertebrate prey available. They are reported feeding on slugs and snails and they do come to the surface. Many of the ones in that group are small compared to what people consider a centipede... for example the ones local to me are thinner than a toothpick and about the same length... I have a hard time thinking that our enclosures would ever have a reduced enough amount of prey that would result in thier attempting to adapt to eggs.

Ed
Hi Ed,

They sound pretty cool. Thin little ones the size of a tooth pick would be pretty cool in an enclosure.

How prolific are they?

I'm guessing they would tend to prey upon springtails and isopods, but they would add to the biodiversity of the tank. They might also be good if they preyed upon nematodes which also like to dine upon our springtails and isopods.

I think Brent had a tank that he had some centipedes in. He let them go until they reached an ecological balance with the other critters in the tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,318 Posts
I haven't had to mess with them too much just observed them outside where they tend to be uncommon...

Brent had a problem with millipedes which boomed and busted in his tank.

Ed
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,747 Posts
Woodsman like bugs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
Most information that I found cited that the eggs hatched from 1 to 3 months from when they were laid.


This site also has some great photos of Millipedes

Millipede Photo Guide


Here is a pretty decent article on Centipedes

Centipede Article
I think this thread answers my questions to these weird "molts" that I have been finding in my viv lol! I'm glad they are just duff millis!!!!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,941 Posts
That could be an Earwhig, harmless to your frogs but nasty looking, will eat ff's. I just completely broke a tank down due to the millipede infestation, dry iced it a few times but they were always back within a day or 2, so 100% of the tank contents are now gone. Nasty additions to the tank in my opinion and I don't think anything will eat the adult or young so I doubt they would be any kind of food source.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Too bad this thread died, has anyone experimented with putting some of the medium sized millipedes into their tanks? I'm curious about the bumblebee species, they grow to about 2 1/2" and look really cool.

It sounds like they probably don't pose much risk to the frogs. I was worried about one eating the plants, but it sounds like they prefer leaf litter and other dead matter.

Would love to hear about someones experience with these guys, they could be a fun janitor helper.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
I keep bumblebee millipedes, but not with frogs. I may still be able to provide a bit of info, though. They would certainly make it necessary to replace leaf litter frequently, they are pretty voracious detritivores. They are said to do poorly at temperatures below 72 F, so I keep mine pretty warm. They breed quite prolifically, without any particular season. I suspect they would thrive in a dart frog viv, probably too well. They are quite attractively colored.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
I keep bumblebee millipedes, but not with frogs. I may still be able to provide a bit of info, though. They would certainly make it necessary to replace leaf litter frequently, they are pretty voracious detritivores. They are said to do poorly at temperatures below 72 F, so I keep mine pretty warm. They breed quite prolifically, without any particular season. I suspect they would thrive in a dart frog viv, probably too well. They are quite attractively colored.
I was thinking of getting a bumblebee or a flat backed. Probably just one to avoid them breeding and taking over. I might try it in my 40 gallon, its heavily planted and doesn't have any frogs yet, but I'm planning on putting my Oyapock tad poles in their once they grow up. I think their colors would nicely compliment a frog viv.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
I keep bumblebee millipedes, but not with frogs. I may still be able to provide a bit of info, though. They would certainly make it necessary to replace leaf litter frequently, they are pretty voracious detritivores. They are said to do poorly at temperatures below 72 F, so I keep mine pretty warm. They breed quite prolifically, without any particular season. I suspect they would thrive in a dart frog viv, probably too well. They are quite attractively colored.
Do the bumble bee produce toxins like some others I suppose mucus is the correct term...


This thread could have been very interesting as it would be neat to have millipedes in the viv.. And would be awesome if you could use them to eradicate any pest (slugs; nemerteans)
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top