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Mass of Millipedes During the spring, millipedes often embark on mass migrations. They are most active at night and usually snuggle up in safe places during the day.  I saw dozens of millipedes along this trail and had to actually watch my step so I didn&#039;t squish them.  I found the hoard shown in this photo cozied up under a pile of juicy scat.<br />
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 American Giant Millipede,American giant millipede,Geotagged,Narceus americanus,Spring,United States,millipede,millipedes Click/tap to enlarge

Mass of Millipedes

During the spring, millipedes often embark on mass migrations. They are most active at night and usually snuggle up in safe places during the day. I saw dozens of millipedes along this trail and had to actually watch my step so I didn't squish them. I found the hoard shown in this photo cozied up under a pile of juicy scat.

    comments (10)

  1. Really beautiful creatures, and quite undervalued. It's possible one of the worst photo-to-identification categories we have, as it's so hard to find good identification sources for millipedes. Posted 2 years ago
    1. They are tricky, and there are only a few that I can ID with confidence. This is an easy one because of its coloring and size - it's the largest we have around here and easily dwarfs the other species. Posted 2 years ago
      1. I know I keep rambling about Madagascar but found an article a few years back where scientists where doing a millipede survey there, which is almost never done before. Every single trip they made they discovered tons of undescribed millipede species. Tons, as in, pretty much every specimen found to be undescribed and micro endemic.

        Followed by the depressing fact that these forests are burned to the ground, including past ones where many species never got a chance to be known to us, as their entire habitat is gone forever.
        Posted 2 years ago
        1. Amazing and so devastating. Millipedes have such an important role in breaking things down and as a food source. Do they burn the forests for agriculture? Feel free to ramble about the awesome places you’ve been and read about...you’re helping to educate by doing so.
          Posted 2 years ago
          1. Yes, largely the forests disappear because of slash-and-burn agriculture. Which not only destroys the habitat, it also makes zero economic sense. The land is degraded, can be used only once, after which it is barren and never productive again. We've once driven from the north all the way to the capital. On that trip, for hours and hours in a row all you see is red hills, pure wasteland where nothing grows.

            The method is outdated by centuries and short-sighted. Yet extreme poverty and an almost complete absence of an education system sustains this practice. Another main source of deforestation is daily charcoal use. Used for selling alongside the roads, but more importantly to cook food, as there simply is no electricity. In busy places, such as the capital, during dinner time you can't even see the sun from all the burned charcoal.
            Posted 2 years ago
            1. Wow. That’s so upsetting. Slash and burn makes no sense anywhere in my opinion, but especially in a place like Madagascar where they have limited forest and an increasing population with an increased demand for food. It’s a time-limited dead end form of agriculture that will just lead to desertification. They are literally burning the lungs of the planet. And, I would imagine that there must be some kind of significant carbon output from the fires that will then head into the atmosphere and jet stream. What’s the solution? Education? Grants? Incentives? I’m sure it’s all been tried, but I still hope that there is a chance for change in Madagascar. Thanks for sharing your experience there. Posted 2 years ago
              1. I really don't know what the solution is to uplift the country in general. As an example, there was once an attempt to fix the few roads they had. Government invested a lot of money into the plan. Contractor creates a road with about 1/10" of concrete, so thin that the road immediately breaks again, and pockets the leftover money from doing this shitty job. It seems every initiative goes corrupted.

                Personally, I think the international community should help, but the devil is in the details. France could also take a bigger responsibility, but now we're getting political.

                As for the national parks, the solution is stupidly simple: they should charge way more. Entree fees, accommodation and food are way too cheap. They should raise these prices 3-5 times. Countries like Kenya and Tanzania get this: you should price it at the upper level of what middle class tourists can afford. This would dramatically improve income, and make protecting it far more rewarding than burning it to the ground.
                Posted 2 years ago
                1. Fast, easy, and cheap is the way of the world. Agreed about charging more - such an easy solution that would provide a boost. Posted 2 years ago
              2. Getting a little of track here, but also wanted to share what Madagascar taught me about privilege.

                One of our guides in northern Madagascar was an energetic local guy, about 5 years younger than me. Self taught English, self taught biology, and was teaching himself German from a 40 year old book as he didn't have anything better.

                This guy in his life time will never achieve anything. Will not ever collect the funds to even leave the island, or to buy anything significant like a car or property. All his energy instead goes to just ensuring he can eat within the coming days, and to avoid medical issues.

                This young man was energetic, bright, talented. He has nothing and will never have anything. And here I come to visit his place, and I have everything. Had this man been born where I was born, he would easily achieve more than I ever have, he's that bright. The only thing he did "wrong" was to be born in Madagascar.

                Therefore much more than being white or being male, I recognize my true privilege as simply being born in the "right" country.
                Posted 2 years ago
                1. Amazingly depressing and humbling. Not enough people in the "first-world" care about these issues and I think it's because, subconsciously, they realize that they shouldn't maintain their level of privilege at the expense of others. Yet, they want to. Our comforts often come from the broken backs of those less fortunate from not "being born in the 'right' country" as you stated above. Basic human rights shouldn't be a privilege just as "living in a bubble" shouldn't be a first-world right. Agreed that the international community does need to help - we have the tools. When you are hungry and poor, it's awfully difficult to focus on conservation or education or self-fulfillment. Posted 2 years ago

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''Narceus americanus'' is a large millipede of eastern North America. Common names include American giant millipede, worm millipede, and iron worm. It inhabits the eastern seaboard of North America west to Georgetown, Texas, north of the Ottine swamps. It has a nearly cylindrical gray body, reaching a length of 4 inches . When threatened, they sometimes curl up or release a noxious liquid that contains large amounts of benzoquinones which can cause dermatological burns. This fluid may irritate eyes.. more

Similar species: Spirobolida
Species identified by Christine Young
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By Christine Young

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Uploaded May 15, 2018. Captured May 14, 2018 12:54 in 553 Lake Rd, Pine Plains, NY 12567, USA.
  • Canon EOS 80D
  • f/3.2
  • 1/166s
  • ISO100
  • 100mm