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Pest Information

Desert Millipede

  • Latin Name: Spirostreptidae
  • Common Name: Desert Millipede
  • Other Names: Orthoporus ornatus

Pest Details

Origin:

These are native species in the southwest U.S.

Biology:

These large millipedes occur primarily in the hotter, drier regions of the south and southwest U.S. They differ from typical millipedes in that they have only a single pair of legs on each of the first five body segments, whereas typical millipedes have 2 pairs of legs on each body segment. They typically are large species that may grow to more than 6 inches in length. They are scavengers that feed on dead plant and animal materials and thus are important in recycling these materials. When disturbed they coil into a tight spiral and may ooze out an oily fluid from glands near where the legs attach. This fluid is foul tasting but also toxic to any animal that attempts to eat the millipede.

Identification:

The mature adults may grow to over 6 inches in length for some of the largest species. They are elongate and cylindrical and usually dark brown to reddish brown. They have 2 pairs of short, thin legs on each body segment except for the first 5 segments, which have only a single pair of legs.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

When found in natural settings or even landscape these millipedes do not need to be killed. They perform a valuable role in recycling. The effort should be to prevent their entry into structures with good exclusion.

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