Centipedes and Millipedes: How to Tell the Difference

CentipedeWhat are the differences between centipedes and millipedes? Are any of them poisonous? Are any dangerous? Do they really have 100 legs? Where can I find them and how can I tell them apart? If these are just some of the questions that are bothering you, here is a great article about centipedes and millipedes and ways of telling them apart.


Centipedes and millipedes have many similarities, but how do you tell them apart. They are biologically related and have common evolutionary roots, so it is no wonder that they share some traits. They are both related to lobsters and crayfish, but despite this, they both live on land. If you have ever seen a centipede or millipede you know that they both have elongated and segmented bodies. They can live for several years. But despite the many similarities, centipedes and millipedes are distinct creatures and have some different features. So keep reading if you want to know the differences between centipedes and millipedes.


– Anatomy
There are many anatomical differences between centipedes and millipedes. One of the most obvious ones is that while both f them have elongated exoskeletal bodies, centipedes’ bodies are flattened, while millipedes have rounded bodies. Centipedes have two long antennae on their head and directly behind their head, they have two venomous legs. Millipedes have short antennae and don’t have venomous legs. Both species have segmented bodies, but centipedes have a single pair of legs on each segment, while millipedes have two pairs. Centipedes have between 30 and 354 legs. No centipede can have an even number of leg sets, there is no centipede with exactly 100 legs. It is also worth noticing that most centipedes have longer legs, while most millipedes have short legs.

– Mobility
One of the main methods to tell these two species apart is according to their mobility. Centipedes ,with their long legs, are able to sprint and move quickly to catch prey or run from a predator. On the other hand, millipedes forage in soil, and their short legs allow them to move only slowly and laboriously.

– Habitat
You can also recognize whether you are dealing with centipedes or millipedes according to where you found them. Namely, centipedes will prefer stony crevices, rotting logs or damp places in your home, while millipedes prefer old plants and decaying greenery, as they feed on decaying plant material.

– Dangerous or not?

Considering the fact that centipedes have venomous legs which they use to hunt prey, you can say that centipedes are venomous. But despite this, they rarely bite humans, and even when they do, the bite stings no more than a bee, and is equally as dangerous. On the other hand, millipedes are completely harmless. Although they have a bad reputation from people mixing them up with centipedes, millipedes will most likely curl up into little balls. However, if you pick them up, they might emit a defensive spray which some people are allergic to.

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