Table of Contents
- 1 WHAT DO CENTIPEDES LOOK LIKE?
- 2 WHAT DO MILLIPEDES LOOK LIKE?
- 3 HOW CAN YOU TELL WHETHER A PEST IS A CENTIPEDE OR MILLIPEDE?
- 4 GET HELP WITH CENTIPEDES OR MILLIPEDES
- 5 SOURCES
- 6 AUTHOR BIO
Centipedes (class Chilopoda) and millipedes (class Diplopoda) are two kinds of arthropods. Their names, which use “centi” and “milli” to mean “hundred” and “thousand,” are misnomers, but they’re a result of the arthropods having so many legs. Interestingly enough, neither has exactly 100 or 1,000 legs, even if they look like they might.
These two arthropods are found all over the world. They’re different enough that it’s helpful to understand what they look like so you can identify them when they pop up.
WHAT DO CENTIPEDES LOOK LIKE?
With almost 3,000 species of centipede living in the world, there’s great variety among them in terms of size and color. These guidelines can help you identify a centipede:
HOW BIG IS A CENTIPEDE?
Centipedes range in length. The house centipede, order Scutigerida or Scutigeromorpha, is usually around an inch long and is the kind you’re most likely to find in your home here in the United States. Comparatively, the Amazonian giant centipede, which lives in the tropics, can grow up to 11 inches in length.
HOW MANY LEGS DOES A CENTIPEDE HAVE?
Centipedes normally have anywhere from 14 to 177 pairs of hook-like legs (up to 354 legs in total).
ARE CENTIPEDES COLORFUL?
Some centipedes are colorful. It’s common to see white, clear, or lightly striped centipedes as well as orange or brightly colored centipedes.
WHAT ARE A CENTIPEDE’S ANTENNAE LIKE?
Centipedes usually have jointed antennae. It’s normal to have two or more joints.
DO CENTIPEDES BITE?
Yes. While it’s rare for centipedes to bite humans, they will attack if provoked. Centipedes have jaw-like claws behind their heads that deliver venom when they attack.
WHAT DO MILLIPEDES LOOK LIKE?
Millipedes are a little more worm-like than centipedes, and their legs are under their bodies instead of sticking out to the side. They also have many, many more legs than centipedes, which is one difference that can help you identify them quickly.
There are around 10,000 species of millipede. Here are some of the ways to identify them:
HOW BIG IS A MILLIPEDE?
Millipedes range in length from around .08 inches to 11 inches.
HOW MANY LEGS DOES A MILLIPEDE HAVE?
Millipedes have up to 200 pairs of legs (400 legs in all).
IS A MILLIPEDE COLORFUL?
They certainly can be. Some millipedes are red, dark brown, black, or orange. Brighter millipedes are more likely to excrete stinky, irritating substances from their bodies.
WHAT IS A MILLIPEDE’S ANTENNAE LIKE?
A millipede’s antennae are long and covered with dense hair.
DO MILLIPEDES BITE?
Millipedes don’t bite. Instead, many use their pungent odor to deter predators.
HOW CAN YOU TELL WHETHER A PEST IS A CENTIPEDE OR MILLIPEDE?
What’s interesting about millipedes and centipedes is that they have different behaviors. So even if you’re not sure about what you’re looking at, you may be able to suss out what you’re viewing by seeing how it moves or reacts to stimuli.
For example, if you pick up debris and the critter underneath runs away from you, that’s most likely a centipede. On the other hand, one that curls up in a ball and stays still is more likely to be a millipede.
Centipedes are predators. They will attack and bite. Some centipedes are highly venomous, but not all are. For your own protection, don’t pick them up.
Millipedes, compared to centipedes, don’t pose a biting risk and usually eat only decaying plant matter. While millipedes don’t attack their prey, some release a secretion as a defense mechanism that smells bad and can potentially cause skin irritation. That’s why it’s better not to handle them.
GET HELP WITH CENTIPEDES OR MILLIPEDES
At Joshua’s Pest Control, we’re here to help whether you’ve found centipedes, millipedes, or a pest you’re not familiar with. Give us a call today, and we’ll be happy to help.
Courtney Enzor has worked in the pest control industry for about a decade. From helping you build a fly trap to giving you the best tips for identifying various bugs, she loves answering all your pest-related questions and sharing her pest-related expertise through writing. At the end of the day, she hopes her content will help people avoid mishaps and keep families happy and healthy!