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5 Types of Millipedes in Texas (Pictures)

Millipedes are just one of the diverse and interesting animals that you can find in the state of Texas. These multi-legged arthropods may not be the most attractive animals, but they’re extremely important to the ecosystem because of the role they play in decomposing organic matter and adding nutrients to the ground. Millipedes in Texas come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, ranging from those that are tiny and delicate to those that are large and impressive.

In this article, we’ll look into the fascinating world of the millipedes that can be discovered in the state, as well as some information regarding these creatures. 

5 Millipedes in Texas

1. American Giant Millipede

American giant millipede
American giant millipede | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Narceus americanus

The American Giant Millipede is a species of large millipede that’s native to North America and can be found in the state of Texas. It’s common to find them in wooded and agricultural areas, specifically in the cracks and crevices of rocks and boards, as well as dead trees and piles of decaying leaves. The body of the American Giant Millipede is segmented and marked with bands of a reddish-orange coloration along each segment. 

In addition to this, they’re nocturnal and solitary, and they feed on rotting wood, roots, and leaves. These animals will roll into a ball and use their tough exoskeletons as a defense mechanism whenever they feel threatened. 

2. Greenhouse Millipede

Greenhouse millipede
Greenhouse millipede | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Oxidus gracilis

The Greenhouse Millipede is one of the most common types of millipede in Texas. The body of these millipedes is black to dark brown, and the legs are a pale cream color. As adults, they don’t get much bigger than an inch long. 

Greenhouse millipedes got their name because they’re one of the pests that gardeners most often find in their greenhouses. These millipedes like to live in dark, cool, moist places with lots of organic matter, and they breed in compost piles, mulch, rotting logs, or soil under logs and stones. This species can sometimes be found outdoors and even indoors in very large numbers. 

3. Desert millipedes 

Desert millipede coiled
Desert millipede coiled | image by CarlsbadCavernsNPS via Flickr

Scientific name: Orthoporus ornatus

The Desert Millipede is a small, dark brown species of North American millipede that lives in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. It’s about 10-15 cm long and can usually live up to 10 years. These millipedes have two pairs of legs in every segment and shed after every time it adds a new body segment. 

It lives in the deep, moist soil of the desert, which keeps it safe from danger. Also, they spend most of their time digging burrows and only come out to eat bacteria and dead plant parts. 

4. Rusty millipede  

Rusty millipede  
Rusty millipede   | image by portioid via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Trigoniulus corallinus

The rusty millipede, also known as the common Asian millipede, is a species of millipede that’s native to Asia. India, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia are some of the countries in Asia where this species can be found. It was also introduced to Florida, where it has since spread throughout the Panhandle, and you can also find it in other parts of the world, such as Fiji and the Caribbean. 

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You can find these animals in places with wet areas, rotting wood, and compost. It can reach a maximum size of three inches and has a color that’s been described as rusty brick red, which is where the species got its name. 

5. Wandering cherry millipede

Scientific name: Pleuroloma flavipes

A species of flat-backed millipede known as the Wandering cherry millipede can be found in North America from the southeastern corner of North Dakota to southern Texas. The distribution of this species is more widespread than any other xystodesmid millipede species. These animals can be recognized by their broad bodies, flat side projections, and dark brown, black, or reddish brown coloring, depending on the species. 

The fact that these creatures travel in large groups that all head in the same general direction is where the name “wandering cherry millipede” originates from. 

Centipede vs. millipede

Centipede and millipede collage
Centipede (left) and millipede (right)

Centipedes and millipedes are two types of arthropods that are often confused with each other. Even though they have some things in common, they’re different in a few important ways: 

1. Sets of legs

Millipedes have two sets of legs on each segment, while centipedes only have one set of legs on each segment. The first set of the centipede’s legs is also modified into fangs

2. Body shape

The bodies of millipedes are much rounder than the bodies of centipedes, which are much flatter.

3. Diet

Most of the time, centipedes eat insects that they kill with their venom, while millipedes eat decomposing plants.

4. Defense mechanism

When threatened, centipedes can bite and run away quickly, while millipedes just curl up and use their hard exoskeleton to protect themselves.