04 May 🐛Magnificent Millipedes🐛
🔎What makes you curious?🔎
Here’s a creepy crawly curiosity with Dr. Jean!
🐛Why are millipedes in my house?🐛
Millipedes always make me smile. I’m not sure if it is the timid way they move, or the fact that they can successfully coordinate so many legs!
Centipedes and millipedes are part of a group called myriapods (Ancient Greek: murias = ten thousand, pod = foot). Centipedes have only one pair of legs per body segment compared to millipedes with two pairs of legs per segment.
I have noticed quite a few millipedes in my house lately. Most millipedes are found in cool, moist environments, where they feed on decaying plant and animal matter. I’m curious to know why they are in my kitchen. Are they are after shelter (perhaps from rainy weather), or food?
Are some species attracted to light? Or they could just accidentally end up in the house while they wander around.
Do you have any ideas? Could you come up with an experiment to test your ideas? Check out the activity sheet below to explore your ideas.
So what did we find?
We decided to check in with two UNE academics to find some answers!
Dr Oliver Knox is a Senior Lecturer at UNE with a keen interest in soil biology. According to Oliver, millipedes normally like dark and damp habitats where they can graze happily. If the weather gets too dry or too wet they sometimes find their way into our houses looking for a more suitable environment. We tend to find them in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries where there is a bit more moisture, and conditions are more suitable for millipedes. So conditions that are too wet, or too dry or possibly too hot or cold are reasons for the migration indoors, and who can blame them!
Dr Manu Saunders is a Lecturer in Ecology at UNE who works on ecosystem services, insect conservation and community ecology. Manu told us that the introduced Portuguese millipede (Ommatoiulus moreleti) is usually the culprit in house invasions. We have about 2000 native species and most of these natives rarely enter houses.
So there you have it! Millipedes that enter your homes are most likely introduced critters who are looking for more comfortable living quarters!