It is estimated that there are roughly 80,000 species of millipedes and 8,000 species of centipedes. About 70 species of centipede live here in Canada, with the house centipede being one of the most common centipedes in North America. It is also the species most likely to turn up in your basement if you live in or around London, Ontario.
What’s the Difference Between Centipedes and Millipedes?
As similar as these two creatures may seem, there are a few things to keep in mind if you think you might have a centipede or millipede in your home.
- Both creatures have long, segmented bodies with many legs.
- Centipedes and millipedes are both arthropods belonging to the subphylum Myriapoda, which comes from the Greek words for “countless feet.”
- They do, however, belong to different classes; centipedes belong to the class Chilopoda while millipedes belong to the class Diplopoda.
- The best known-physical difference between centipedes and millipedes is arguably the arrangement of their legs.
- Centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment, while millipedes have two.
- Centipedes are usually carnivorous, while millipedes are herbivores.
- They also have different ways of responding to threats. Centipedes will usually run away while a millipede will freeze or curl up. Millipedes are also often toxic.
Why Do I Have Centipedes and Millipedes in My Home?
Centipedes lack the protective waxy cuticle that insects have and are thus more susceptible to dehydration. They will seek out damp places like basements or bathrooms. They also tend to seek refuge indoors when temperatures start falling in the autumn. Millipedes also like damp and dark places and will seek shelter indoors during the cooler months.
Are Centipedes and Millipedes Dangerous?
Centipedes can bite, and the pain can be comparable to a wasp sting. Millipedes produce secretions that can contain poisons like cyanide. Myriapods do not, however, carry any diseases.