The Min­doro gi­ant millipede

Animal Scene - - CONTENTS - by Wally Suarez

Apart from phas­mids, per­haps one of the more un­der­rep­re­sented of the lo­cal in­ver­te­brate sub­cul­tures is that deal­ing with mil­li­pedes, an anom­aly pos­si­bly at­trib­uted to a lack of availabili­ty and di­ver­sity rather than an ab­sence of in­ter­est.

The rather com­mon Philip­pine Flame­leg (Trigo­ni­u­lus macropy­gus) some­times finds its way in spe­cial­ist col­lec­tions, but ex­tremely lit­tle is known about the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of other species in cap­tiv­ity. Nev­er­the­less, this an­cient group of an­i­mals only re­quires a very straight­for­ward care reg­i­men, and even novices, kids in­clud­ing, can suc­cess­fully rear spec­i­mens with just some ba­sic con­sid­er­a­tions.

How­ever, the species cov­ered in this pa­per is one of the more de­fen­sive mil­li­pedes I am aware of and thus is bet­ter suited to more ad­vanced hob­by­ists -- but that doesn’t make it nec­es­sar­ily more dif­fi­cult to keep than the other, more in­of­fen­sive ones. The main dif­fi­culty is ob­tain­ing sources of cap­tive-born stocks. I first found th­ese an­i­mals while on a trek in Ori­en­tal Min­doro about ten years ago. On sub­se­quent vis­its, I found th­ese mil­li­pedes to be eas­ily ob­served, al­beit not at all com­mon, and only quite re­cently have been given the op­por­tu­nity to main­tain three spec­i­mens. As of this writ­ing, I must ad­mit that I have not pinned down the ex­act iden­tity of the an­i­mals, and pos­si­ble can­di­dates for its generic iden­tity rests in the gen­era Acladocric­us, Spirobo­lus, or Thy­ropy­gus. A sim­i­lar, if not the same, species is pur­port­edly found in Cebu.

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