flat-backed millipedes

(Order Polydesmida)

               
Overview

Polydesmida (flat-backed millipedes) is the largest order of millipedes. It occurs on every continent worldwide except Antarctica and Greenland. There are about 3,500 species that have been described and more than that yet to be described. They are found in almost all habitats in leaf litter, under the bark of rotting logs, under rocks, and on living trees. They feed on decaying vegetation or the leaves and shoots of live plants. When threatened they exude irritants from pores along the sides of their body.

flat-backed millipede (Order Polydesmida)

Identification

Flat-backed millipedes are named for flattened, wing-like extensions (paranota) on the sides of each body segment on most species. Many also appear flattened when viewed from the side. However, some are cylindrical and have reduced paranota or no paranota. All are blind and lack eyes. Mature adults are to 5 (3 to 130 mm) long. They have 19 or 20 body rings. There is no dorsal groove. On the male, the front pair of legs on the seventh ring are modified as reproductive structures (gonopods), while the hind pair are normal walking legs.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 24, 29, 30, 82.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Subphylum:

Myriapoda (myriapods)

 

Class:

Diplopoda (millipedes)

 

Subclass:

Helminthomorpha

 

Order:

Polydesmida (flat-backed millipedes)

 
Subordinate Taxa

Suborder Chelodesmidea

Suborder Paradoxosomatidea

Suborder Polydesmidea

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

flat-backed millipedes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Flat-backed millipede on cowpie

  flat-backed millipede (Order Polydesmida)   flat-backed millipede (Order Polydesmida)
       
  flat-backed millipede (Order Polydesmida)    
       

 

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Other Videos
 
  Polydesmida
Paul Mosquera
 
   
 
About

May 8, 2016

   

 

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Created: 9/26/2020

Last Updated:

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