Millipedes are a common class of arthropod with over 10,000 named species. Estimates suggest this is only a fraction of the total number of millipede species. Two pairs of legs per segment distinguish millipedes from the closely related centipedes which only have one. Early forms of millipede were some of the first animals to colonise land and therefore some of the oldest known fossils of land creatures. The largest known millipede is the giant African millipede which measures in excess of 28cm (12in).
Scientific name: Diplopoda
Plant-hungry millipedes were among the first land animals, dating back 428m years.
Millipedes certainly hold the record for most legs, but they are also the oldest known land creature, with one particular species living 428 million years ago.
Forest millipede courtship and mating.
Two male forest millipedes compete for a female showing their courtship and mating techniques.
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Learn more about the other animals and plants that also form these fossils.
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