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Giant African millipede

Archispirostreptus gigas
a giant African millipede at the Oregon Zoo.

The Giant African millipede lives in rainforests.

Millipede lingo

  • Millipede: mille means thousand; pede means feet.
  • Centipede: centi means hundred; pede means feet.
  • A detritivore such as the millipede is an herbivore that eats decaying plant material.

Millipedes and centipedes: Some differences

  • Millipedes have four legs per body segment; centipedes have two.
  • Millipedes are slow-moving herbivores. Centipedes are fast-moving carnivores; they're often brightly colored to warn predators of their venom.
  • Millipedes do not bite or sting; centipedes have venom in their fangs.

Millipede behavior and facts

  • The giant African millipede is the largest of the world's 10,000 species of millipedes.
  • Of the world's millipedes, leg counts range from 36 to 400. They don't actually have 1,000 legs, despite the name. A giant African millipede may have 30 to 40 segments, with 4 legs per segment.
  • Giant African millipedes are nocturnal, moving slowly on the rainforest floor, chewing up and recycling debris.
  • When threatened, they curl up in a spiral.

From birth to death

  • Mating: the male winds around the female.
  • Fertilized eggs are laid in holes in the ground.
  • After emerging from the eggs, the young are white with only a few segments.
  • Lifespan: 5 to 7 years

Vital statistics

Length: up to 12 inches


Not listed.

Millipedes the Oregon Zoo and you

Giant African millipedes live in the Insect Zoo. They munch on a diet of fruit and lettuce.