Myriapods belong to the anthropod family. Anthropods are characterized by a segmented body, a chitinous exoskeleton and joint appendages. Apart from having combined segments to their bodies myriapods have very highly developed sense organs. Their limbs are joined together almost creating a suit of armor that prevents predators from reaching the insides of the millipede or centipede.
They also have a ventral nervous system meaning that their nervous system is placed at the front of the body near the stomach and not near the spine of the creature. The term myriapod refers to many legs which describes the centipede and the millipede.
Frequently asked questions about millipedes and centipedes
What is the difference between a millipede and a centipede?
First a millipede belongs to the myriapod class of Diplopoda while a centipede belongs to the class Chilopoda. The second difference is that the former is not poisonous while the latter is poisonous. Millipedes also have two pairs of legs per body segment while the centipede has one pair of legs per body segment.
While the centipede has longer antennae at the top of its head the millipede has a shorter one. Plus the centipede can bite while the millipede can’t. the centipede tend to extend their legs away from their bodies as they move while the millipedes tuck their legs under their bodies as they move around.
What is common between a millipede and a centipede?
The first and most obvious similarity is that they both have segmented bodies and they have many legs to move around. They both feature holes which they use as respiratory organs. These holes are known as spiracles. They use the antennae for smelling and finding food.
Both the centipedes and millipedes lay their eggs in the soil and they reproduce sexually. This means that they have to mate with a partner in order to be fertilized and lay their eggs. Most species of millipedes and centipedes have the same color which is why they are often confused for each other. And of course they are both elongated creatures.
Both produce substances that can cause burns and allergic reactions in people. Finally centipedes tend to move faster than millipedes because of how their legs are placed.
How do centipedes and millipedes defend themselves?
Centipedes have claws at the top of their heads that they use to bite. The claws have venom which the centipede imparts onto its prey to kill it. Millipedes on the other hand do not have biting mouthparts. As such, their defense mechanism is to either curl up into a tight ball or emit a stinky substance to ward of their predator.