/mil"euh peed'/, n.
any terrestrial arthropod of the class Diplopoda, having a cylindrical body composed of 20 to more than 100 segments, each with two pairs of legs.
Also, millepede.
[1595-1605; < L milipeda (Pliny), equiv. to mili- MILLI- + -peda, deriv. of pes, s. ped- FOOT]

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Any of about 10,000 species of the arthropod class Diplopoda, found worldwide.

Most species live in and eat decaying plant matter. Some injure living plants, and a few are predators and scavengers. Millipedes are 1–11 in. (2.5–28 cm) long and have from 11 to more than 100 diplosomites, double segments formed from the fusion of two segments. The head is legless; the next three segments have one pair of legs each; and the remaining segments have two pairs each. In defense, millipedes do not bite; most species tuck headfirst into a tight coil, and many secrete a pungent, toxic liquid or gas.

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 any member of the arthropod class Diplopoda, distributed worldwide and commonly grouped with several other classes as myriapods. The approximately 10,000 species live in and eat decaying plant matter; some injure living plants, and a few are predators and scavengers. The characteristic feature of the group is the presence of diplosomites, double trunk segments formed from the fusion of two segments. They have as many as 200 pairs of legs—two pairs on each diplosomite except for the first (head) segment, which is legless, and the next three segments, which each contain one pair of legs. In addition, each diplosomite (except for the first four) contains two pairs of internal organs (i.e., two pairs of ganglia and two pairs of heart arteries). The head contains antennae, simple eyes (ocelli), and only a single maxilla. The length ranges from 2 to 280 mm (0.08 inch to 11 inches). The number of segments also varies, ranging from 11 to more than 100 in some species. All but one order of millipedes are armoured with calcareous dorsal plates. In defense, they do not bite; most tuck head first into a tight coil with the exoskeleton exposed, and many secrete a pungent, toxic liquid or gas from lateral glands.

      The class includes myriapods common to many gardens, such as Julus (sometimes spelled Iulus) terrestris, a 25-millimetre (1-inch) species native to Europe and introduced into North America, and smooth-bodied forms often called wireworms. Some millipedes lack eyes and are brightly coloured; an example is the 25-millimetre (1-inch) greenhouse millipede (Oxidus gracilis). One of the most common and conspicuous forms is the 100-millimetre (4-inch) black and red Narceus americanus of southeastern U.S. forests.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • millipede — (n.) also millepede, c.1600, from L. millepeda wood louse, a type of crawling insect, from mille thousand + pes (gen. pedis) foot (see FOOT (Cf. foot) (n.)). Probably a loan translation of Gk. chiliopous …   Etymology dictionary

  • millipede — ► NOUN ▪ a small invertebrate animal (an arthropod) with an elongated body composed of many segments, most of which bear two pairs of legs. ORIGIN from Latin mille thousand + pes foot …   English terms dictionary

  • millipede — [mil′i pēd΄] n. [< L millepeda < mille, thousand + pes (gen. pedis), FOOT] any of a class (Diplopoda) of many legged arthropods with an elongated body having two pairs of walking legs on each segment …   English World dictionary

  • Millipede — For other uses, see Millipede (disambiguation). Millipede Temporal range: 428–0 Ma …   Wikipedia

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  • millipede — UK [ˈmɪlɪpiːd] / US [ˈmɪlɪˌpɪd] noun [countable] Word forms millipede : singular millipede plural millipedes an insect with a long thin body and many pairs of small legs …   English dictionary

  • millipede — Milleped Mil le*ped (m[i^]l l[ e]*p[e^]d[i^]), n. [L. millepeda; mille a thousand + pes, pedis, foot: cf. F. mille pieds.] (Zo[ o]l.) A myriapod with many legs, esp. a chilognath, as the galleyworm. [Written also {millipede} and {milliped}.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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