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Leach's Train Millipede (Euryurus leachii)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Leach's Train Millipede

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Despite the similar phonetics in its common name, this millipede does not latch on and suck blood like the famous leech.

Updated: 01/04/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Leach?s Train Millipede is a dark brown and red millipede that is completely unrelated to a leech, which is a type of blood-sucking worm. This species of millipede is named after Leach, a scientist, which is also spelled differently from the worm. Though millipedes have been known to stop trains, it is not certain if that quality is reflected in its common name, or if its physical resemblance to a train is the reason. (Numerous millipedes that were smashed while resting or crossing over train tracks left a slippery mess, making it dangerous for trains to operate until the tracks were cleaned in Australia in 2013.)

When stretched, the segments of this millipede?s body separate revealing a dark, narrow body beneath the armored plates. The dark brown, almost black, millipede has a red spot in the middle of each armored segment. This flat millipede has even flatter sides that stick out from each segment and are dotted with triangular red spots at the tips. Short dark antennae stick out by the head, and each segment has a pair of white legs on each side. The density of legs per segment makes it seem like there are 1,000 of them, but the actual number is far fewer than that.

Like most millipedes, it secretes a chemical defense with an odor that may be detectable. Another defensive maneuver is curling up to protect legs and an exposed underbelly. It is partial to dead and rotting hardwood, and usually lives underneath logs and stumps. Look for them under decaying deciduous hardwood in forests and woodlands.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Diplopoda
      Order: Polydesmida
        Family: Euryuridae
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          Genus: Euryurus
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            Species: leachii

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Euryurus leachii
Category: Millipede
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 130mm (0.11" to 5.11")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; black; red; white
Descriptors: red triangle corners; flat sides; segmented; gaps; white legs; short antennae; curled; flat-backed;

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 3mm (0.1in) and 130mm (5.1in)
Lo: 3mm
Md: 66.5mm
Hi: 130mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Leach's Train Millipede may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Leach's Train Millipede. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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