Sleek and smooth, the American Giant Millipede is a dark millipede with red or red-orange bands on each segment. Its legs and feet are also red, and there are many of them. The body of this diplopod is tubular, not flat, and each segment has two pairs of legs (two legs on the left side of a segment, and two legs on the right). It can grow longer than an adult’s finger, and it can curl up into a swirl, protecting its head and vulnerable legs. The American Giant Millipede can secret a chemical that can temporarily cause skin to discolor, but it does not secrete hydrogen cyanide, so it does not burn or blister skin if handled.
The American Giant Millipede is the most commonly-seen, robust millipede on the continent, and will crawl over gentle hands and obliging arms. This is a forest-dwelling millipede and usually moves under leaf litter and around trees and wood piles. Most millipedes feed on decomposing plant matter. Look for adults crawling on tree trunks or crossing paths in spring when mating occurs. Females use regurgitated food to create a small cup that holds one fertilized egg before being sealed. Adults remain active throughout summer and autumn. Mature and young millipedes overwinter in the soil or tucked away in rotting wood.
General Characteristics Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns.