15 Difference Between Centipede And Millipede (With Pictures)

SHARE

Centipede and millipedes belong to class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda, which is an arthropod group of multi-legged creatures. Learn the difference between Centipede and Millipede. The basis of comparison include: body shape, classification, number of legs per segment, legs appearance, spiracles, genital opening, number of legs, antennae, movement, reproduction among many others.

Characteristics of Centipede

Centipedes are rarely seen by humans due to their nocturnal activity and speed in which they move. Here are some of the characteristic features of centipedes:

  1. Centipedes are flexible, dorsoventrally flattened arthropods.
  2. Centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment.
  3. Centipedes are carnivorous and feed on small organisms such as coakroaches, ants and other insects. They kill their prey by injecting them with venom.
  4. Centipedes are terrestrial arthropods belonging to class Chilopoda.
  5. Centipedes are armed with poisonous glands to attack and kill their prey. Their bite can also be fatal to humans.
  6. The centipedes’ legs are articulated laterally along the body.
  7. The laterally positioned spiracles may be valvular and can be closed.
  8. Centipedes have a single genital aperture opening at the posterior end.
  9. The visibility of centipedes’ legs is such that the legs seem to spread from the body (extend sidesways from their body).
  10.  Centipedes tread forward using their legs and therefore they move very fast.
  11. Centipedes have long antennae on the top of their head.
  12. The body of a centipede is divided into 15 to 100 segments with average number of legs being 50 for normal centipedes and 360 for giant species.
  13. Centipedes do not reproduce by mating or copulation, the male centipede deposits a bundle of sperms (spermatophores ) and that the female is suppose (meant) to absorb the bundle of sperms on finding it.
  14. The female centipede lays around 40 to 50 eggs, after a period of few months.
  15. Majority of the centipedes have a length of between 4 to 5 inches long, for giant species of centipedes they measure between 7 and 12 inches long.

Characteristics of Millipedes

Millipede are often referred to as “thousand-leggers” and are usually commonplace around structures and  in damp areas such as under leaves needles and dead plant debris or in cracks and crevices.  Some of the characteristic features of millipede include:

  1. Millipedes are rigid, subcylindrically shaped arthropods.
  2. Millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment.
  3. Millipedes are detritivorous feeders; they primarily feed on decaying organic matter and may eat the roots and leaves of seedling plants. Millipedes are ecologically useful as agents of microbial decomposition and soil nutrient cycles.
  4. Millipedes are terrestrial arthropods belonging to class Diplopoda.
  5. Millipedes possess toxic compounds (corrosive liquid) that they use as their defense mechanism. This toxic compound can be harmful if they get in touch with humans, they can cause burns and severe allergic reactions. There are also some type of millipedes that do not posses poison glands, they only curl their body and produce a foul-smell when threatened.
  6. The millipedes’ legs are articulated mid-ventrally with the body.
  7. The ventrally positioned spiracles are not valvular and cannot be closed.
  8. The millipedes have a single genital aperture opening at the anterior end.
  9. Millipedes move forward by their tiny legs which move in a wave-like pattern and thus they are slow-moving creatures.
  10. The visibility of millipedes’ legs is such that the legs seem to be in line with the body (extend directly from their body).
  11. Millipedes have short antennae on the top of their head.
  12. The body of a millipede is divided into 10 to 15 segments with average number of legs being 60 for normal millipedes. For giant species of millipede, the number of legs can reach up to 750.
  13. Reproduction in millipedes is such that the male and female join for mating whereby the male deposits sperms within female.
  14. The female millipede can lay up to 300 eggs after a few months.
  15. The average length of adult millipede can vary between 1 to 5 inches. The giant species of millipede can be as long as 15 inches.

Also Read: Difference Between Vertebrates And Invertebrates

Difference Between Centipede And Millipede In Tabular Form

BASIS OF DIFFERENCE CENTIPEDE   MILLIPEDE
Body shape Centipedes are flexible, dorsoventrally flattened arthropods.   Millipedes are rigid, subcylindrically shaped arthropods.  
Number of Legs per Segment Centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment.   Millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment.  
Feeding Centipedes are carnivorous and feed on small organisms such as coakroaches, ants and other insects. They kill their prey by injecting them with venom.   Millipedes are detritivorous feeders; they primarily feed on decaying organic matter and may eat the roots and leaves of seedling plants. Millipedes are ecologically useful as agents of microbial decomposition and soil nutrient cycles.  
Classification Centipedes are terrestrial arthropods belonging to class Chilopoda.   Millipedes are terrestrial arthropods belonging to class Diplopoda.  
Defense Mechanism Centipedes are armed with poisonous glands to attack and kill their prey. Their bite can also be fatal to humans.       Millipedes possess toxic compounds (corrosive liquid) that they use as their defense mechanism. This toxic compound can be harmful if they get in touch with humans, they can cause burns and severe allergic reactions. There are also some type of millipedes that do not posses poison glands, they only curl their body and produce a foul-smell when threatened.  
Position of Legs The centipedes’ legs are articulated laterally along the body.   The millipedes’ legs are articulated mid-ventrally with the body.  
Spiracles The laterally positioned spiracles may be valvular and can be closed.   The ventrally positioned spiracles are not valvular and cannot be closed.  
Genital Opening Centipedes have a single genital aperture opening at the posterior end.   The millipedes have a single genital aperture opening at the anterior end.  
Movement Centipedes tread forward using their legs and therefore they move very fast.   Millipedes move forward by their tiny legs which move in a wave-like pattern and thus they are slow-moving creatures.  
Legs Appearance The visibility of centipedes’ legs is such that the legs seem to spread from the body (extend sidesways from their body).   The visibility of millipedes’ legs is such that the legs seem to be in line with the body (extend directly from their body).  
Antennae Centipedes have long antennae on the top of their head.   Millipedes have short antennae on the top of their head.  
Body Segmentation and Legs The body of a centipede is divided into 15 to 100 segments with average number of legs being 50 for normal centipedes and 360 for giant species.   The body of a millipede is divided into 10 to 15 segments with average number of legs being 60 for normal millipedes. For giant species of millipede, the number of legs can reach up to 750.  
Reproduction Centipedes do not reproduce by mating or copulation, the male centipede deposits a bundle of sperms (spermatophores ) and that the female is suppose (meant) to absorb the bundle of sperms on finding it.   Reproduction in millipedes is such that the male and female join for mating whereby the male deposits sperms within female.  
Number of Legs The female centipede lays around 40 to 50 eggs, after a period of few months.   The female millipede can lay up to 300 eggs after a few months.  

Also Read: Difference Between Male And Female Mosquitoes

Similarities Between Centipedes and Millipedes

  1. Both Centipedes and Millipedes consist of segmented bodies with many pairs of legs.
  2. They both belong to the same group of terrestrial arthropods and they prefer moist, protected outdoor habitats such as rotting logs, leaves, bark and undersides of stones.
  3. They both types of elongated and segmented type of insects.
  4. Majority of Centipedes and Millipedes have same colors.
  5. In both insects, respiration happens through trachea.
  6. Centipedes and Millipedes reproduce through sexual reproduction, though they have no direct copulatory organs.
  7. Both Centipedes and Millipedes have simple eyes and lay their eggs in the soil.
  8. Centipedes and Millipedes have a pair of antennae that they use for smelling and eating. Also they both breathe through spiracles that connect trachea system.
  9. Both centipedes and millipedes consist of toxic chemical compounds that can cause poisoning, burns and even kill small insects.
  10. Both are divided into head and trunk.
  11. Both centipedes and millipedes have mouth part that lies on the underside of the head.
  12. A pair of mandibles is present in both the millipedes and centipedes.

What is the main difference between Centipede and millipede?

Centipedes are flexible, dorsoventrally flattened arthropods with one pair of legs per body segment. On the other hand, Millipedes are rigid, subcylindrically shaped arthropods with two pairs of legs per body segment.