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Millipede Care Sheets


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#1 RandomWiktor

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 02:48 PM

Giant African Millipede
Archispirlostreptus gigas



Basic Info
Common Name(s): Giant African Millipede, Giant African Black Millipede
Scientific Name: Archispirostreptus spp, Scaphiostreptus spp. Typically, Archispirostreptus gigas
Description: A 8-12" millipede with a segmented tubular body and two sets of legs per segment. Body coloration is black with 200-300 rubicund legs. The eyes are compound and located to the anterior of the antennae, which are used for sub-terranian navigation and possess special sensory organs known as Tömösváry organs. The mandibles are weak and designed for the desiccation of rotting plant matter. Breathing pores called spiracles may be visible on the lateral surface of each segment. Male millipedes have a specially modified set of grasping legs at their seventh segment which are typicaly kept tucked to the body. This aside, the genders are identical in appearance.
Lifespan: 5-15 years, 7-10 average.
Range: Western Africa
Habitat: Sub-terranian burrows in tropical forests/sub-tropical forests
Diet: Detrivorous; decaying plant matter is the primary source of nutrition
Reproductive Habits: Giant African Millipedes reach sexual maturity at two years of age, at which point they become prolific breeders providing their living conditions are appropriate. The male attracts a mate with pheromones, then grasps the female with specially modified legs during mating, transferring sperm. The female is oviparous, creating a tunnel lined with dung in the soil in which she lays her eggs. The speed of hatching depends on temperature but averages three weeks. Neonates are only three segments in length and white. They grow rapidly, developing new segments with each shed. Over time, they develop the black coloration of adults.
Conservation Status: Stable/Non-Threatened
Captive Bred/Wild Caught: Both

Captive Care
Housing: The minimum tank or bin size for a fully grown Giant African Millipede is 20" length by 10" width - in other words, no less than double the millipede's length in at least one dimension. Floor space is more important than height, particularly if multiple millipedes are to be housed communally (they are a social species, so this is fine). However, enough depth must be provided for at least 3-4" of substrate - more if possible. The lid should have weights or clamps to prevent the millipedes from escaping (they will readily push the lids off of unlatched containers), and should be at least partially covered as opposed to screened to maintain appropriate humidity. No lighting is necessary, and is in fact discouraged as this species is sensitive to light and prefers dark/nocturnal living conditions.
Temperature: 75-85*F (24-30*C). Never lower than 70 or higher than 90. If using a heating pad, place on the SIDE of the tank, not the bottom; millipedes burrow to cool themselves, and will overheat trying to escape the warmth.
Humidity: High; 75-85% It is best to keep one side very damp and one lightly moistened to create a humidity gradient that the millipede can traverse to its comfort.
Substrate: At least three inches of moisture-holding particulate such as organic potting soil, coco fiber, peat, or leaf mulch is essential to permit burrowing and prevent dehydration. Many keepers use a combination of several of the above, with soil or coco fiber beneath a layer of peat or leaf mulch. The moist bedding often results in small, harmless white mite infestations, and may need to be dried or baked periodically (obviously with 'pedes removed) to maintain clean conditions.
Décor: Millipedes have minimal need for décor as they spend much of their time below the soil. However, they do prefer a place to escape light, so a large wooden hide is preferable. You may also wish to provide rotting hardwood logs (frozen or baked prior to placement in the tank to kill pest insects and bacteria) for nourishment and enrichment. Avoid soft woods, as many contain insecticidal oils. Also avoid any rocks that are not rooted to the floor of the aquarium, as many a tunneling millipede has been crushed by rocks placed atop the substrate.
Diet: Millipedes are detrivores, consuming rotting plant and at times animal matter in their natural habitat. In captivity, detritus must still be provided; dead, naturally fallen oak and maple leaves offer essential chitin and beneficial digestive bacteria (though all leaves should be thoroughly rinsed to dislodge pest insects). Rotting hard wood serves a similar purpose. However, because captivity lacks the variety of nature, it is best to supplement this diet with an abundance of dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, collared greens, and romaine lettuce. Fruits and vegetables should be offered a few times per week, preferably on the verge of spoiling; over-ripe berries, apple, banana, and cucumber are favorites. Finally, all food should be lightly dusted with reptile calcium at least weekly to promote a strong, healthy exoskeleton. PLEASE NOTE: All matter fed to millipedes should be thoroughly rinsed to prevent the accidental ingestion of pesticides. Fruits and cucumbers should be peeled.
There is some debate regarding water sources. Because giant African millipedes lose water through their breathing pores, they require high humidity and a high moisture diet. Most millipedes will gain sufficient water if fed misted fruits and vegetables daily. However, water can also be provided to mature specimens in the form of a shallow water dish or gel water source. Both are potential drowning hazards for neonates, however.
Breeding: In appropriate conditions with both genders present, breeding is inevitable. There is no particular science to encouraging mating; merely provide a high quality diet, appropriate living conditions, and plenty of darkness. See the above "Reproductive Habits" for details on mating. If you wish to breed, you should purchase millipedes from a reputable breeder who can sex your stock for you; breeders who do not know the difference probably also do not know enough to maintain high quality millipedes!
Health & Illness: As with all wild animals, millipedes often do not show signs of illness until it is too late. Because of this, it is important to have a good understanding of healthy, normal behavior, appearance, and habits. A healthy millipede specimen should be full-bodied with smooth, undamaged, firmly connected segments, most of its legs and both of its antennae intact, with a healthy shine and dark color to the exoskeleton. The only mites present should be large, fast moving, reddish-brown commensal mites that clean debris from the legs.
Millipedes with gaps between the segments or a soft, discolored exoskeleton are suffering from a severe and typically fatal case of hypocalcaemia. A dull or dry exoskeleton is an earmark of dehydration, as is remaining coiled constantly with minimal movement (a mechanism to retain water). Small, slower-moving gray, black, or white mites may be parasitic. A complete absence of commensal mites does not necessarily suggest poor health, as we do not yet have a full understanding of the interaction between mite and host, but most specimens observed in the wild DO possess these "helper mites."
A healthy millipede should be active and responsive, particularly at night. It is normal for them to remain coiled when resting, or buried in the substrate when molting, but millipedes who are exceedingly lethargic may be ill. Furthermore, a millipede should react quickly to stimuli such as light and touch; a millipede who does not react to handling, a sudden bright light, or misting may very well be ill. Low temperatures and old age are another potential culprit.
The feces of a properly fed Giant African Millipede should be a well-formed, fibrous, soil-like pellet. Runny feces may indicate inadequate chitin and fiber in the diet, or an over-abundance of watery foods and fruit. The one exception is the foul smelling, highly acidic, watery discharge emitted when a millipede is frightened. This excrement is specifically designed to deter predators and is nothing to worry about.
Other Considerations: While millipede ownership is among the simplest of the invertebrate world, there is some chance of an allergic reaction to the noxious mixture of primarily hydrochloric acid secreted from the pores of a spooked or threatened millipedes. The average individual only develops a slight discoloration of the skin if not rinsed promptly, but sensitive individuals may have hives, burning, itching, and in some extreme cases may even become ill.
Helpful Links:
Arachnoboards
Bug Nation
Pet Bugs

Orthoporus Millipedes
Orthoporus sp.



Basics Info
Common Name(s): Ornate Desert Millipede, Desert Millipede, Southern North American Millipede, Texas Giant Millipede, Sonoran Millipede
Scientific Name: Most commonly, Orthoporus ornatus
Description: A 3-6” millipede with a segmented tubular body and two sets of legs per segment, totally roughly 200-300 legs. Body coloration varies by species; most commonly, russet or ochre with ruddy banding. The eyes are compound and located to the anterior of the antennae, which are used for sub-terranian navigation and possess special sensory organs known as Tömösváry organs. The mandibles are weak and designed for the desiccation of rotting plant matter. Breathing pores called spiracles may be visible on the lateral surface of each segment. Male millipedes have a specially modified set of grasping legs at their seventh segment which are typically kept tucked to the body. This aside, the genders are identical in appearance.
Lifespan: 3-10 years, 5 average.
Range: Southern North America through Central America
Habitat: Detritus, leaf litter, and burrows in desert areas.
Diet: Detrivorous; decaying plant matter is the primary source of nutrition, however this species will consume decaying animal matter as well.
Reproductive Habits: Orthoporus millipedes reach sexual maturity at roughly 3.5-4“ in length, and may reproduce in captivity under the proper conditions. The male attracts a mate with pheromones, then grasps the female with specially modified legs during mating, transferring sperm. The female is oviparous, creating a tunnel lined with dung in the soil in which she lays her eggs. The speed of hatching depends on temperature but averages three weeks. Neonates are only three segments in length and white. They grow rapidly, developing new segments with each shed. Over time, they develop the black coloration of adults.
Conservation Status: Stable/Non-Threatened
Captive Bred/Wild Caught: Both

Captive Care
Housing: The minimum tank or bin size for a fully grown Orthoporus millipede is 12” length by 6” width - in other words, no less than double the millipede’s length in at least one dimension. Floor space is more important than height, particularly if multiple millipedes are to be housed communally (they are a social species, so this is fine). However, enough depth must be provided for at least 3-4” of substrate, though this species burrows less frequently than some other species. The lid should have weights or clamps to prevent the millipedes from escaping (they will readily push the lids off of unlatched containers). Screen lids are OK for this species so long as the substrate is kept moist, as humidity is not as important to survival. No lighting is necessary, and is in fact discouraged as this species is sensitive to light and prefers dark/nocturnal living conditions.
Temperature: 75-85*F (24-30*C). Never lower than 70 or higher than 90. If using a heating pad, place on the SIDE of the tank, not the bottom; millipedes burrow to cool themselves, and will overheat trying to escape the warmth.
Humidity: 70-80% is suggested, but moist substrate is most important; this species yeilds from arid environments, but dwells in moist rotting vegetation.
Substrate: At least three inches of moisture-holding particulate such as organic potting soil, coco fiber, peat, or leaf mulch is essential to permit burrowing and prevent dehydration. Many keepers use a combination of several of the above, with soil or coco fiber beneath a layer of peat or leaf mulch. The moist bedding often results in small, harmless white mite infestations, and may need to be dried or baked periodically (obviously with ‘pedes removed) to maintain clean conditions.
Décor: Millipedes have minimal need for décor as they spend much of their time below the soil. However, they do prefer a place to escape light, so a large wooden hide is preferable. You may also wish to provide rotting hardwood logs (frozen or baked prior to placement in the tank to kill pest insects and bacteria) for nourishment and enrichment. Avoid soft woods, as many contain insecticidal oils. If you elect to include rocks to mimic the natural habitat, make sure all rocks are set firmly against the bottom of the bin before substrate is added, so that burrowing millipedes are not crushed by rocks placed atop the bedding.
Diet: Millipedes are detrivores, consuming rotting plant and at times animal matter in their natural habitat. In captivity, detritus must still be provide; dead, naturally fallen oak and maple leaves offer essential chitin and beneficial digestive bacteria (though all leaves should be thoroughly rinsed to dislodge pest insects). Rotting hard wood serves a similar purpose. However, because captivity lacks the variety of nature, it is best to supplement this diet with an abundance of dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, collared greens, and romaine lettuce. Fruits and vegetables can be offered weekly, preferably on the verge of spoiling; over-ripe berries, apple, banana, and cucumber are favorites. Soaked cat or dog food is an appropriate source of protein. Finally, all food should be lightly dusted with reptile calcium at least weekly to promote a strong, healthy exoskeleton. PLEASE NOTE: All matter fed to millipedes should be thoroughly rinsed to prevent the accidental ingestion of pesticides. Fruits and cucumbers should be peeled.
There is some debate regarding water sources. Orthoporus millipedes gain most of their water from dietary sources, or sipping water droplets from leaves, logs, and rocks. Most millipedes will gain sufficient water if fed misted fruits and vegetables daily. However, water can also be provided to mature specimens in the form of a shallow water dish filled with gravel, permitting the millipedes to drink from between the gravel. Never provide a water dish without gravel, as this smaller species may drown. All water bowls are a drowning risk for neonates.
Breeding: In appropriate conditions with both genders present, breeding is common. There is no particular science to encouraging mating; merely provide a high quality diet, appropriate living conditions, and plenty of darkness. See the above "Reproductive Habits" for details on mating. If you wish to breed, you should purchase millipedes from a reputable breeder who can sex your stock for you; breeders who do not know the difference probably also do not know enough to maintain high quality millipedes!
Health & Illness As with all wild animals, millipedes often do not show signs of illness until it is too late. Because of this, it is important to have a good understanding of healthy, normal behavior, appearance, and habits. A healthy millipede specimen should be full-bodied with smooth, undamaged, firmly connected segments, most of its legs and both of its antennae intact, with a healthy shine and dark color to the exoskeleton.
Millipedes with gaps between the segments or a soft, discolored exoskeleton are suffering from a severe and typically fatal case of hypocalcaemia. A dull or dry exoskeleton is an earmark of dehydration, as is remaining coiled constantly with minimal movement (a mechanism to retain water). Small, slower-moving gray, black, or white mites are always parasitic. Orthoporus millipedes lack natural commensal mites, so all mites observed should be treated as parasitic.
A healthy millipede should be active and responsive, particularly at night. It is normal for them to remain coiled when resting, or buried in the substrate when molting, but millipedes who are exceedingly lethargic may be ill. Furthermore, a millipede should react quickly to stimuli such as light and touch; a millipede who does not react to handling, a sudden bright light, or misting may very well be ill. Low temperatures and old age are another potential culprit.
The feces of a properly fed Orthoporus should be a small, well-formed, fibrous, soil-like pellet. Runny feces may indicate inadequate chitin and fiber in the diet, or an over-abundance of watery foods and fruit. The one exception is the foul smelling, highly acidic, watery discharge emitted when a millipede is frightened. This excrement is specifically designed to deter predators and is nothing to worry about.
Other Considerations: While millipede ownership is among the simplest of the invertebrate world, there is some chance of an allergic reaction to the noxious mixture of primarily hydrochloric acid secreted from the pores of a spooked or threatened millipedes. The average individual only develops a slight discoloration of the skin if not rinsed promptly, but sensitive individuals may have hives, burning, itching, and in some extreme cases may even become ill.
Helpful Links:
Arachnoboards
Bug Nation
Pet Bugs

#2 Dibari

Dibari

    Bloargh

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 03:22 PM

Awesome, Ren, great care sheet. smile1.gif
Beautiful contribution, and thank you for taking the time out of your busy/screwed up schedule.
huggg.gif

#3 RandomWiktor

RandomWiktor

    I put the "fun" in fundamentalist!

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  • Location:Alabama
  • Real Name:'Ren
  • Gender:Not Sure
  • Age:28
  • Betta Count:8
  • Total Fish Count:Between several and many.
  • Referred By:I was sucked in by UB's gravitational force.
  • Statement:We weep for a bird's cry but not for a fish's blood; blessed are those with a voice.

Posted 24 August 2007 - 03:30 PM

Awr, you flatter me. I gotta do something while I'm hooked up to IVs, right? Heh.

#4 Guest_RosenKrieger_*

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 03:54 AM

That's awesome. I was looking at those on one of the sites you gave me for the roaches, I'm seriously considering getting one, now. They look so neat. tongue1.gif

Edited by RosenKrieger, 16 September 2007 - 08:28 AM.


#5 RandomWiktor

RandomWiktor

    I put the "fun" in fundamentalist!

  • Administrator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
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  • Location:Alabama
  • Real Name:'Ren
  • Gender:Not Sure
  • Age:28
  • Betta Count:8
  • Total Fish Count:Between several and many.
  • Referred By:I was sucked in by UB's gravitational force.
  • Statement:We weep for a bird's cry but not for a fish's blood; blessed are those with a voice.

Posted 19 September 2007 - 03:38 PM

Orthoporus sp. added. Coming soon: vietnamese rainbow millipede.




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