African Giant Millipede

ANIMAL:
African Giant Millipede Archispirostreptus gigas

Type of Animal:
Millipede

Habitat:
Tropical/subtropical areas-forests, lowland areas, coastal habitat w/ trees, in moist debris/plant matter/rotting wood/warm dark places

Location(s):
Sub-Saharan Africa & S Arabia.

Appearance:
Largest of all millipedes, blackish to dark brown coloration, round body, single mouth called maxilla, 2 antennae & simple eyes called ocelli, no leg segments on head, 30-40 segments w/ 4 legs on each segment, tail segment only has 2 legs, larvae white w/ only a few segments & 3 pairs of legs

Food/Diet:
Old/decaying plant material/trees/logs, fruits, vegetables, rotting leaves, substrate soil

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
N/A

Lifestyle:
Small groups of around 5
 
Additional Info:

Called:
Male
Female
Young: Larva
Group: Colony
 
Weight:
2.82 oz

Gestation:
3 months 

Life Span:
5-7 years

Body Length:
4-11 in

Main predators are birds, reptiles, frogs, & mammals.
 
Active at night (nocturnal).
 
Fertilized eggs laid in holes in ground.
 
Due to being decomposers, waste helps become new soil.
 
Breathe through tiny pore-like holes called spiracles.
 
Since they have poor eyesight, touch plays important role.
 
During courtship, male winds around female.
 
Larvae molt exoskeleton within 12 hours after hatching. Each time millipedes molt, they acquire new segments/legs.
 
Females lay hundreds of eggs in nests of compressed soil just below ground. Eggs not fertilized until after laying & covered w/ tough resistant coating, protecting them from predators/poor environmental conditions.
 
Many legs used for digging through soil/debris.
 
Moves in straight, forward manner.

Fun Fact(s):
Mites often found on millipedes, eating debris on millipedes’ bodies, keeping millipedes clean, & providing mites w/ meal.
 
Though millipede means thousand legs, they usually have 300-400 legs rather than 1,000.
 
Can smell & taste w/ all body parts.
 
To defend itself, it will coil into ball and/or secrete foul-smelling/tasting fluid (repungnatorial fluid) from pores. They have armor-like exoskeleton.
 
Fairly popular exotic pets.

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