Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Millipedes (Class Diplopoda)

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4626

Though the name “millipede” suggests that these animals have 1,000 legs, and although the presence of numerous legs is a characteristic of this group, none have more than 375 pairs, and most have considerably fewer. In differentiating this group from the similar-appearing centipedes and symphylans, the presence of two pairs of legs per body segment is the key character used to identify millipedes.


The Class Diplopoda is one of six classes in the Subphylum Atelocerata of the Phylum Arthropoda. The other classes in the subphylum are Chilopoda, the centipedes; Pauropoda, the pauropods; Symphyla, the symphylans; Entognatha, the collembolans, proturans, and diplurans; and Insecta, the insects. There are several orders of diplopods, and several arrangements of the taxa have been proposed. These are fairly common arthropods, and as they occasionally are numerous or damaging, they sometimes are confused with insects. More commonly they are confused with centipedes.
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  1. Enghoff H (1984) Phylogeny of millipedes–a cladistic analysis. Zeitschrift für Zoologische Systematik und Evolutionsforschung 22:8–16Google Scholar
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  3. Kime RD, Golovatch SI (2000) Trends in the ecological strategies and evolution of millipedes (Diplopoda). Biol J Linn Soc 69:333–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008