Millipedes - live in soil, forest litter and rotten wood. They feed on decaying plant debris, mycelium of fungi, some of them are predators. Millipedes have poor eyesight, so they avoid light when possible.
When protecting, insects secrete a caustic liquid that can cause irritation or a rash in humans.
Since millipedes require a moist climate, it is best to keep them in a glass or plastic aquarium with a substrate thickness of 10-12.5 cm. The aquarium should be large enough for an adult millipede, for example 45x30x45 cm (height x width x depth). If you have a higher aquarium, then you do not need to close it with a lid on top, since the millipede will not be able to escape.
The substrate should consist of compost (for example, coconut fiber) or sphagnum peat. Remember, your millipede will process the substrate and eat part of the organic matter, so do not use compost, which contains fertilizers, as this will negatively affect its health.
The substrate must be kept constantly moist (not wet), so every day it needs to be sprayed with fresh water. If desired, you can add some plants, as they decorate the aquarium, for example, phalaenopsis orchids (Phalaenopsis), which grow well in such conditions. Remember, giant millipedes love heat and humidity, but do not overdo it, otherwise the insect will drown.
Most species of giant millipedes live in tropical or subtropical areas of the jungle, so when they are kept in captivity, additional heating is required. The best way to maintain a constant temperature is to place a heating pad under the aquarium. A heating pad is placed under one half of the aquarium so that the millipede can cool on the other half as needed. On average, the temperature (at the substrate level) should be 18.3-23.8'C throughout the year. A slight decrease in temperature at night is acceptable - not lower than 18.3'C.
Since giant millipedes shun light, in captivity they do not need additional lighting.
Millipedes eat vegetation that has fallen and has begun to rot. For these purposes, suitable salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, banana, peaches. It is necessary to regularly add powdered calcium to the products, which is used by insects to build an exoskeleton. Powdered calcium and vitamins are sold at pet stores.
Be sure to place a small saucer with a wet cotton ball in the aquarium so that the millipede does not drown. Cotton wool should be completely wet.
The sex of giant millipedes is easily determined in adults. Seen from above, males on the seventh segment lack one pair of legs (in fact, they are tucked under the body of an insect). In females - on the seventh segment two pairs of legs.
The fertilized female digs a hole in the substrate in which she lays eggs. Some species of giant millipedes are active parents, females guard the clutch until the larvae hatch.
After birth, young insects hide in the substrate. Young people reach a length of several millimeters in length and it is very difficult to see them, so be careful when cleaning the terrarium and changing the diet of millipedes.
Young millipedes grow quite quickly and only from the fourth or fifth segment will they have two pairs of legs, before that, each segment of millipedes will have one pair of legs. After each molt, the millipedes will be added in a segment with two pairs of legs.
Centipedes can take about 10 years from birth to puberty, since giant millipedes grow very slowly.
Credit: Portal Zooclub
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Kivsyaki - who they are: a systematic position and a brief description with photos
These creatures can only be called insects conditionally. They belong to the order of two-legged millipedes, or diplopods. The scientific systematics of these representatives of the animal kingdom is based on several main taxa (groups that are united by a number of common characters) and intermediate categories. Information on their scientific classification is presented in the table:
|Categories used for the scientific taxonomy of kivsyak||Category Names|
|Section||Bilateral symmetrical bilateral|
|Subtype||Tracheal or tracheal breathing (paranous)|
|Kingdom||Eumetazoi or true multicellular|
The body of the nodule is formed by the anal lobe and many segments, tergite, pleirite and sternite of each of which are connected in a single ring. There are 2 pairs of limbs per segment. The length of the body is from 2 to 25 cm. There are antennas on the head. Vision in diplopods is very weak or absent. Breathing through trachea. Kivsyak can be white, gray, dark, brown. How these arthropods look can be seen in the photo.
Types of double-legged millipedes
In the world fauna kivsyaki are represented by many species, some of which are poisonous. Among the most common varieties stand out:
- Giant, or African. The maximum length of the giant African nibble is 38.5 cm, the width is 2.1 cm. The homeland of the African nibble is East Africa. Giant kivsyak can be found in tropical and subtropical forests, less often in dry broad-leaved forests.
- Rainbow. These colorful diplopods live in southeast Asia.
- Olive, which got its name thanks to its dark olive color. Olive nods are found in South African rainforests.
- Crimean. It has a brown-gray color with a metallic tint. Most of these millipedes can be found in the south of the Crimean coast.
- Eulides. Real kivsyaki mainly live in the western Palaearctic region.
- Red-legged with bright red limbs.
- Paris. It lives in Cameroon, Congo and Cote d’Ivoire.
- Gigas. It has a very large size.
- Albino. The smell exuded by a white nodding is the most unpleasant among all that is emitted by fellow members of the family.
- Installers. Some individuals grow up to 30 cm, on average 25–27 cm.
Not only specialists need information about the lifestyle of these insects. Diplopods pose a serious threat to crops, so every gardener and gardener needs to know how these worms breed, where and in what conditions they live, what they eat. This knowledge will also prevent the appearance of these pests in the country or in the garden.
Habitat and habitat, optimal living conditions
Diplopods are found in ground forest cover, fallen leaves, tree bark, fruits, flowers and branches that make up the forest litter. These arthropods are ubiquitous. You can’t meet them except in Antarctica. Kivsyaki can adapt to any, even the most adverse conditions. At the same time, diplopods do not tolerate dry air and bright sunlight, preferring to dig into the soil during the day, making deep winding tunnels in it.
To date, there are about 600 species of these predators. These scolopendras belong to the species of the leg-footed millipedes from the Skolopendra squad. Special representatives of this population are Californian, ringed and giant scolopendra.
- The California predator reaches sizes up to 22 centimeters. In a calm state, it does not pose a threat to humans, but if the animal is disturbed, it can cause inflammation of the skin at the site of contact with the millipede limbs. The habitat of the California species is the drier areas of the United States and Mexico.
- The largest of the species Skolopendra gigantea. The largest scolopendra of the existing species. This black giant millipede reaches 23–26 centimeters in length, and individuals were 30 centimeters long. This species can be found in South and Central America, in Venezuela, on the island of Jamaica.
- Ringed scolopendra. The representative of this population lives in southern Europe, in southern Russia, in North Africa, has a decent population in Crimea. This is a relatively small scolopendra: its length reaches 13-14 centimeters, but individual specimens grow up to 16-17 cm. It has an extraordinary golden yellow color, and, like the rest of the representatives of this species, it has poisonous glands.
How millipedes reproduce: life cycle, life span
Diplopods require certain conditions for breeding: 25–28-degree temperature and 85 percent air humidity. In the process of mating, the male places the spermatophore in the female's genital opening located on the 3rd body segment. Eggs are laid by females in the soil. The larva differs from sexually mature kivsyak only in the size and number of limbs. Before becoming adults, the larvae molt several times. For wintering, adults and larvae burrow in moist soil.
What do kivsyaki eat in nature?
Such worms are very voracious. In a month they can eat a whole bucket of food. In the natural habitat, diplopods eat leaves that have fallen from trees, mushrooms, tree bark, rotted shoots of plants, roots. The favorite garden crops of this species of millipedes are strawberries and cucumbers. Pests can also be found in manure and compost heaps. Here they prefer to breed.
Lifestyle & Hunting
Giant scolopendra is thermophilic representative of the genus millipedes. It lives in countries where a warm or tropical climate. The detachment belongs to the night inhabitants of their places in the life cycle, in daylight and in open space, and does not feel comfortable enough. All scolopendras move quickly enough, but the giant one is distinguished by special agility. Scolopendras live mainly underground or in dark and moist shelters, old lying trees, etc. Since their bodies do not have reliable protection and quickly lose moisture, animals prefer a nocturnal lifestyle and wet, secluded shelters.
The scolopendra predator is a very skilled hunter.hunting usually at night, it catches prey in a vulnerable state and does its job very quickly and cruelly. The predator's diet includes larvae, beetles, earthworms, etc. The giant one prefers a larger catch, its diet includes spiders, beetles, lizards, some species of snakes, birds, and even bats. This species, due to its speed, is able to hunt in harsh conditions and take prey by surprise.
When attacking a victim, wraps her arms around her legs and injects a dose of paralytic poison into her body, while holding it until it loses its ability to resist. Further, the process of absorption of food begins. When the largest species of these creatures (Skolopendra gigantea) attack the larger prey (lizard, snake, bat), the predator, after introducing poison and paralyzing its victim, begins its meal by eating the brain, since it contains the most nutritious and useful substances.
Sometimes equal opponents come across, in the battle with which the opponent often prevails. These are several types of beetles, praying mantises, etc. - the former have too strong an armor, while others are simply stronger than it in the battle.
Natural enemies of millipedes
In the wild, they have virtually no enemies. Parasitic ticks are the only inhabitants of the forest whom representatives of this species of millipedes fear. Occasionally reptiles and birds can show interest in them. Feeling danger, nods emit an unpleasant odor and curl up into a dense ring, pretending to be dead.
Diplopods cause increased attention in ordinary lemurs, who bite them slightly, provoking the release of an odorous substance. With this fetid liquid they rub their hair. Thus, lemurs not only scare away parasitic insects, but also enjoy experiencing a slight intoxication from the smell emitted by millipedes.
What does a scolopendra look like?
- The animal in its structure consists of two parts: a long body and a head. It is divided into separate segments, their number depends on the length of an individual and the type of creature, on average from 20 to 25 cm. Each of them has a pair of legs of yellowish color, on which there is a pointed spike. Their length is 3.4 centimeters. All of them have a poisonous gland, in contact with the skin of a person leave inflammation similar to small burns.
- The body of the predator is assembled from plates that are connected by flexible membranes and closed by an exoskeleton. Skolopendra gigantea is a soft-bodied animal. This species tends to shed its natural robe, the process is called molting. After that, the whole chitinous shell remains at this place, and the predator itself takes on a watery appearance and the process of restoration of a new defense begins.
- The head of the animal looks like a plate with eyes, a pair of jaws and two antennae. During evolution, in the first segment of the body, the legs adopted the function of poisonous claws, due to which the scolopendra injects its poison into the body of the potential victim, after which paralysis occurs.
- The last pair of legs has a difference from the others - they are much longer than the rest, because they are directed back. They help the animal to move through shelters and burrows, and also play a large role in hunting, having the purpose of a kind of anchor.
- The giant millipede has a brown or red color with a copper tint. Although their color may have other forms, even in individuals of the same sample. They can be green and purple, yellow and red, and even have a bluish tint. It all depends on the age of the animal, and on the period of formation of the chitinous shell after molting, etc.
What role do kivsyaki play in nature, and what are the benefits?
These creatures play an important role in the processes of soil formation, especially in the southern regions, where there are few earthworms, and diplopods take on their function of processing plant residues. They eat dead plant debris, involving leaf litter in the soil, thereby contributing to its humification. The excrement of millipedes becomes small granular structural elements of the earth. Calcium carbonate accumulates in their hard covers, which beneficially affects the water resistance of the soil structure.
Many millipedes, including nodules, help identify the level of environmental pollution. Radioactive substances and heavy metals accumulate in their chitinous cover.
The meeting of a man with a giant millipede and what it threatens
The danger of this animal is greatly exaggerated. All representatives of this species are poisonous, because they have glands with neurotoxin. But scolopendra venom is a mortal threat only to insects and small animals.
Human skin is too tough for them, so the likelihood of a fatal outcome when meeting with her is excluded, although contact with a millipede can cause inflammation of the skin and an allergic reaction. In the case of the largest representative of the species, everything is different.To the extent of its size, it is able to produce a rather painful bite, which causes edema of a large part of the body and may be accompanied by burning and itching. Injury after such a bite heals for a long time, on average from 4 to 6 days. As mentioned earlier, the bulk of these animals are almost harmless, but in any case there are exceptions!
The danger posed by a bite of a scolopendra depends on the typeto which she belongs. When she bites her skin, a dose of poison is released, which is accompanied by burning, swelling, weakness and dizziness. The only recorded death occurred with a small child, from the poison Skolopendra subspinipes. This species has several names: orange scolopendra, Chinese and Vietnamese.
Some varieties of these predators, if disturbed, are capable of secreting fluid that leaves burns on the skin. For example, the California scolopendra has this ability.
After a predator bite is necessary rinse the wound immediately, apply something cold to it and consult a doctor urgently. Often prescribed tetanus prophylaxis and a specific group of analgesics.
The most dangerous are the millipede females, their poison is more toxic and is dangerous for people with weak immune functions, allergic diseases and children.
How to protect yourself from a bite of a scolopendra in nature
If you went outdoors, you should remember a few rules. to avoid unwanted contact and personal injury.
- In no case can you take a scolopendra with your bare hands.
- Turn logs, stones and other objects with care.
- Wearing clothes and shoes, carefully inspect all things.
- It is recommended not to spend the night in the open air, to use tents and sleeping bags for the night.
- You need to remember the main thing: scolopendra does not belong to the order of insects and the means of mosquitoes, flies and others, will not help here.
Features of the predator in facts: the most interesting thing about the giant scolopendra
In the past, the ancient Greeks called all millipedes skolopendras. To kill this animal is very difficult, due to the flat physique it is almost impossible to crush. In addition to this, the skolopendra are very quick and move fast enough. Therefore, it is better to avoid contact in order to avoid unpleasant consequences.
Maintenance and care
The giant scolopendra is very often held in captivity, by special lovers of millipedes. The predator is very interesting to watch, but you should not underestimate it - this is a very fast and aggressive animal. People who do not have experience and ideas about these predatory animals should deny themselves this joy in order to avoid random surprises. Since the animal has a flat and very flexible body, it can easily penetrate the terrarium gap, etc. They live in captivity for a long time, approximately four and a half years, if caring for them complies with the rules.
How to get rid of a multi-legged worm?
You need to start fighting diplopods immediately after they are discovered, the only way to save the crop. It is recommended to rely on mechanical and agrotechnical measures to combat them. Insecticides against this type of pest are not so effective, but the larvae that have not yet managed to acquire a strong shell can be completely destroyed by them. It is worth noting that forever get rid of kivsyak will not succeed. Description of the methods of dealing with millipedes:
|Methods of dealing with nods||Features|
|Mechanical||Manual collection||To collect pests by hand, it is previously recommended to make artificial shelters for them.|
|Using lures||Arthropods should be lured on potatoes, carrots, strawberries and other vegetables they love.|
|Trap application||Having dug containers in the ground, when they are filled with millipedes, they should be destroyed.|
|Use of insecticides||"Aktofit", "Karate"||Use in strict accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.|
|Using improvised tools||Salt||With the onset of twilight, sprinkle salt in places of accumulation of kivsyak.|
How to keep kivsyak as a pet?
Those who love exotic animals can breed diplopods at home. Caring for them is simple. It is enough to equip a place in the house for these pets and feed them regularly. For the content of kivsyak requires:
- heat and high humidity
- a spacious aquarium or terrarium, on the bottom of which a thick layer of earth or coconut substrate should be mixed with leaves and decayed wood,
- rotten wood, foliage, vegetables, fruits and mushrooms as food,
- crushed cereals for feeding,
- chalk, sepia, crushed eggshell, dolomite flour as a source of calcium.
The content of these exotic creatures is within the power of every person. If you do it right, such pets will be pleased with their presence for a long time.