Striped millipede - Grinlow 2020 (Jon Mortin)

Myriapods (centipedes and millipedes)

Myriapods include centipedes (which have one pair of legs per segment) and millipedes (which have two pairs of legs per segment). Generally millipedes (literally “thousand legs”) have more legs than centipedes (literally “one hundred legs”)  but some centipedes have more legs than some millipedes!

Variegated centipede - Ferneydale, 2020 (Jon Mortin)

About centipedes and millipedes

Centipedes are predatory animals and possess a pair of pincer-like appendages which deliver a venomous bite to subdue their prey. In contrast millipedes are largely vegetarian and eat mainly decaying vegetable matter.

Flatback millipede - Grinlow 2020 (Jon Mortin)

Centipedes and millipedes in the High Peak

Takes you to the up-to-date list and photo galleries of all myriapod observations within the High Peak area, as recorded on iNaturalist

Takes you to the up-to-date list and photo galleries of all myriapod observations within the ‘Buxton polygon’ area, as recorded on iNaturalist and collected by the Buxton Biodiversity Recording Group project

At the time of writing (subject to update on iNaturalist – see above) nine different species of millipede have been recorded in the High Peak so far. These include the common White-legged Snake Millipede (found in most gardens), the Pill Millipede (which can roll into a ball and has only 18 pairs of legs) and the large and impressive Striped Millipede (Ommatoiulus sabulosus).

Similarly, at the time of writing, only three species of centipede have so far been recorded in the High Peak: there are undoubtedly many more waiting to be discovered but they can be quite difficult to identify. Two commonly found ones (often present in gardens) include the Western Yellow Centipede (Haplophilus subterraneus) which has between 77 and 83 pairs of legs and the Variegated Centipede (Lithobius variegatus) which has 15 pairs of legs.

Pill millipede - Ferneydale 2021 (Jon Mortin)

Text on myriapods by Jon Mortin.

Identifying centipedes and millipedes

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