Saturday, February 18, 2017

Millipedes Diplopoda

  While on our knees weeding out wild strawberries growing on the gully flat it was noticed how abundant this little Millipede was. Looking up this little critter in my books when I got home I found out there are about 600 species in New Zealand ranging in size from 20 to 100mm. The NZ species have separate sexes and the pale yellow-brown eggs are laid in special cavities lined with or made entirely from soil. Now here is the interestingly weird thing; the eggs hatch into young with three segments. A pair of legs on each side (millipedes have two legs on each side of their segment. Centipedes have only one). More body segments and legs are added at each moult. Millipedes are entirely vegetarian feeding mostly on decaying plant matter whereas Centipedes are carnivorous feeding on insect and spiders.
These were all within the flood plain of the gully floor so we’re wondering what happened to them when the creek flooded its banks which happens reasonably frequently.

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