Legs are where the sim­i­lar­i­ties stop

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

WHILE mov­ing some old, dead branches in my gar­den the other day, a cen­tipede scur­ried across the soil look­ing for shel­ter. It was a dull orange colour, very fast and al­ways look­ing for shade and shel­ter. It’s of­fi­cial name is com­mon litho­bius. The dif­fer­ence be­tween a mil­li­pede and a cen­tipede is all to do with the num­ber of legs. A mil­li­pede has two pairs of legs per body seg­ment. It is quite a slow mover and is a veg­e­tar­ian. A cen­tipede has one pair of legs per body seg­ment. It also is very ac­tive and fast, but cen­tipedes are vo­ra­cious preda­tors and eat many gar­den pests and bugs. Both cen­tipedes and mil­li­pedes are noc­tur­nal. You are most likely to come across them in the gar­den if you turn over slabs, rocks, branches or root around near the com­post heap. One im­por­tant as­pect to re­mem­ber about cen­tipedes is that at birth a cen­tipede has only seven pairs of legs, but af­ter a small grow­ing spurt and a cou­ple of moults, it ends up with the usual 15 pairs of legs, with a longer pair of legs at the back of the body.

More in­for­ma­tion from Owen Leyshon, Rom­ney Marsh Coun­try­side Project, on 01797 367934 or at www.rmcp.co.uk

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