Mulch munchers

Geetha Iyer


A Spirobolid bulldozer millipede, Eucentrobolus maindroni, from the southern Western Ghats region. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Bulldozer millipede with blue-green legs from the Eastern Ghats. Photo: Geetha Iyer
A giant pill millipede of the order Sphaerotheriida from southern Western Ghats. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Giant pill millipede beginning to open. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Giant millipede of the family Zephroniidae from north-eastern India. Pill millipedes roll into a ball when a threat is preceived. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Plate millipede, Anoplodesmus species, from Suchindrum, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. They are the most diverse Indian species. Photo: Geetha Iyer
A millipede of the order Spirostreptida from the family. Harpagophoridae. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Millipedes belong to the class Diplopoda. The term describes them accurately as they have two (diplo) pairs of legs (poda) in each segment of their body. Photo: Geetha Iyer
A giant pill millipede belonging to the Arthrosphaera species rolled into a ball. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Arthrosphaera species beginning its roll to close. A locking mechanism ensures that they cannot be prised open unless you harm them. This is also a protective mechanism to reduce water loss by reducing the surface area exposed to air. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Pink-legged millipede belonging to the Aulacobolus species from southern Western Ghats. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Millipedes prefer environments with constant to high moisture levels and moderate temperatures. They are therefore abundantly distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Red and black giant pill millipede from southern Western Ghats. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Eumillipes persephone, a female with 1,306 legs, from Australia. Image by Dr Paul Marek (Wikipedia).
Flat-backed millipede of the Paradoxosomatidae species. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Trigoniulus corallinus from the Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Centipede. Centipedes belong to the order Chilopoda. Unlike millipedes, they have only one pair of legs in a segment. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Centipedes are carnivorous, and their bite carries a venom that can harm humans. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Spirostreptids range in size from the largest millipedes to the smallest. They are adapted to live in various types of biomes—rain forests, grasslands, deserts and caves. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Trigoniulus corallinus, a pantropical Spirobolid millipede common across India. Photo: Geetha Iyer
A black bulldozer, Aulacobolus species, from Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Litter splitters or plate millipedes from Suchindram. Photo: Geetha Iyer
While most millipedes are predominantly forest-floor/soil dwellers, some of them climb trees to reside in crevices to feed and escape the heat. Photo: Geetha Iyer
Wedge or litter splitter, Chondromorpha species, Suchindrum. Photo: Geetha Iyer