Desert Millipede

Desert Millipede - Orthoporus ornatus

Photo © Andrew Clark 2013

Orthoporus ornatus

Description: a large, yellowish-brown milli- pede with chestnut banding. Typically about 10cm/ 4 inches long, but may reach 15cm/ 6 inches. Very variable in color. Overlaps in range with related species, but much more common. Difficult to identify otherwise.

Range: wide-ranging, from [USA] south- western Oklahoma and western Texas, west to Arizona , and into [Mexico] Chihuahua, Sonora, San Luis Potosí, and Nuevo Leon.

Habitat: primarily found in the Chihuahuan and Sonoran Deserts. Mainly nocturnal and crepuscular, but also active during rainfall. May aestivate up to eight months through the dry season.

Diet:
Wild: dead vegetation and bark of various desert shrubs, and sometimes pieces of dead arthropods.
Zoo: mixed vegetables and fruit.

Reproduction: eggs are laid underground or in concealed locations. Total lifespan is expected to be about ten years, the six- legged hatchlings adding new segments and legs with each moult as they grow.

Fun fact: Millipedes defend themselves by secreting noxious chemicals which of contain or produce cyanide, making them inedible to many predators. However, there are still numerous creatures which find them a tasty snack, especially many scorpions.