The giant millipede is dark black in color and is one of the largest millipedes growing up to 12 inches in length with a circumference of 2-3 inches. The millipede has two pairs of legs per segment as opposed to its cousin the centipede that only has one. An easy way to determine the number of legs that a particular millipede has is to count the number of body segments it has, multiply by four, and subtract ten. When threatened, the African giant millipede will curl up into a tight ball. If continuously threatened, it will secrete a fluid that has a foul-taste and smell to thwart predators.
This animal can be found in tropical and sub-tropical rainforests throughout Africa. While they are mainly terrestrial staying under leave litter or logs, they have been known to burrow in moist soil to some extent. They are more active at night.
The African giant millipede feeds on a variety of rotting vegetation, which makes it an herbivore and a decomposer.
The millipedes reach sexual maturity at two years of age. During mating, the male crawls on top of the female and taps her all over with his legs. Eventually the two end up belly-to-belly. Mating may take hours. The sex organs are located close to the head on the third body segment. Fertilization takes place inside of the female. The female lays her eggs in a nest and guards them carefully. The larval forms of the millipede only have one pair of legs to a somite (body segment). With each molt, they will gain more segments and legs.
Did you know?
The millipede has very poor eyesight and must continuously tap their antennae on the ground to navigate their way through their environment.
The African giant millipede is considered non-threatened.