Millipedes are found worldwide, but are more abundant in tropical areas. There are over 12,000 species of millipedes. All have two pairs of legs per body segment. The number of segments depends on how many times they have molted because they add segments as they grow; however, they usually have at least 18 segments. No species is known to have 1,000 pairs of legs, but one species is known to have 750! Most species have between 36 and 400 pairs of legs. Millipedes are generally nocturnal, preferring humid environments. Most species feed on decaying plant material. Millipedes spend most of their time burrowing in the ground. When disturbed, they will coil into a protective ball, like a hedgehog. Most millipedes can also exude a toxic substance along the sides of their body that is irritating to the skin of predators. This is their only defense mechanism as they do not bite. Millipedes can live for many years in the wild and in captivity.
"Gold" Desert Millipedes
This species is native to the Southwestern United States and Mexico. They are adapted to desert environments. Orthoporus millipedes are the longest species that live in the US and can live up to 10 years. This species is mostly nocturnal, but they may come out in large numbers after heavy rainfall.