Trivia question for Sep-08-2011

Posted on Sep 8, 2011 in Trivia

Olivia loves insects so she was fascinated by these large critters.  Due to their lack of speed and their inability to bite or sting, their primary defense mechanism is to curl into a tight coil — protecting their delicate legs inside an armored body exterior.

Many species also emit poisonous liquid secretions or hydrogen cyanide gas through microscopic pores called odoriferous glands along the sides of their bodies as a secondary defense. Some of these substances are caustic and can burn the exoskeleton of ants and other insect predators, and the skin and eyes of larger predators. Animals such as Capuchin monkeys have been observed intentionally irritating millipedes in order to rub the chemicals on themselves to repel mosquitoes. The young hatch after a few weeks, and typically have only three pairs of legs, followed by up to four legless segments. As they grow, they continually molt, adding further segments and legs as they do so. Some species molt within specially prepared chambers, which they may also use to wait out dry weather, and most species eat the shed exoskeleton after molting.

So here are Olivia’s questions:  Tell us what this huge insect is and what their typical lifespan is?  Also, name at least one mammal that likes to eat these big bugs?

Good Luck 😉


Congratulations to Ruthi Pascale from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania for being the first to identify the big bug we featured. The insect in our trivia is the Giant Millipede. Millipedes are arthropods that have two pairs of legs per segment (except for the first segment behind the head which does not have any appendages at all, and the next few which only have one pair of legs). Each segment that has two pairs of legs is a result of two single segments fused together as one. Most millipedes have very elongated cylindrical bodies, although some are flattened dorso-ventrally, while pill millipedes are shorter and can roll into a ball, like a pillbug.

Their lifespan varies on where they live but usually averages up to 11-years.  Giant Millipedes are vulnerable to predators such as birds, reptiles, amphibians and many mammals including shrews, hedgehogs and mongoose.  Here is more in these big invertebrates: Giant Millipede

Thanks for playing along 😉