Wildlife Photography | The Leggiest Of Them All

Millipede photo in upstate NY by Kelley Elizabeth Photography

Millipede | click to enlarge


Pop quiz time!

How many legs to millipedes have?

1. A million, duh

2. A thousand

3. None of the above

Millipedes are not insects, but they are arthropods. The millipedes belong to the class Diplopoda, and eat decaying matter. Milli comes from the Latin mille and means thousand, pede from the Latin pes, meaning foot. You might think the answer is a thousand legs on a millipede, but actually none have quite that many.

millipede photo in upstate ny

click to enlarge


Ok, confession time. One thing that makes my skin crawl is parasites. There’s just something about parasitic worms that really give me the heebee-jeebes. And just about everything is an environment for them, hosts them, transmits them. Ugh, YUCK! You can’t escape them. And neither can millipedes.

This species, Narceus americanus, of millipede that I photographed is an intermediate host of the parasitic worm Oligacanthorhynchus tortuosa  (as well as a hand full of other parasitic worms). I say intermediate because that worm is an intestinal wall parasite of vertebrates (the opposum, to be exact in this case).

This cold snap we’re experiencing (well technically I think this would be considered spring if it weren’t for the 70 degree weather we had for the last 2 weeks that was so spoiling) has all the insects kept at bay again. And I fully acknowledge that only a real nerd would be anticipating the different insect emergences with the kind of excitement that I do. Can’t help it, it’s how I am built.

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