Subject: bug eating lichen
Location: north east ohio
April 18, 2015 7:40 pm
doing photo-micrograph of lichen and came back to find this little critter eating my subject.
the little guy is maybe 1/64 ” long
location is north east Ohio time is mid April
depth of field is quite shallow with the rig I’m using so i couldn’t get any better angles to show the mouth parts or legs and i didn’t wan to kill it just for a photo.
Signature: LPainne

What's Eating the Lichen????

What’s Eating the Lichen????:  Pincushion Millipede

Dear LPainne,
Your image is beautiful, and we have no idea what this is, except that it looks larval.  We are posting your image and we hope that with the help of our readership, we will be able to provide an identification soon.

Update:  Pincushion Millipede
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash and a confirmation from Christopher Taylor, we now know that this is a Pincushion Millipede or Fuzzy Millipede or Bristly Millipede in the genus
Polyxenus which is pictured on BugGuide where it states:  “Their typical habitats are generally described as litter and bark, also commonly collected from rocks and old walls” and “They are diurnally active, feeding on algal films and lichens, often in warm and dry conditions and direct sunlight.”

Location: Ohio

7 Responses to Pincushion Millipede feeding on Lichen

  1. Jerry Pittman says:

    a very beautiful photo. Looking forward to finding out what it is.

  2. Very interesting! Wonder if it’s a larvae of some sort, or an oddball micro-invertebrate. Just looking at the photo, the first thing that comes to mind are some of the colorful marine polychaete worms if the photographer hadn’t specified the circumstances 🙂 .

  3. As Cesar has said, this is a pincushion millipede of the Polyxenida. Pincushion millipedes have a reputation for being rare, but they can be abundant in at least some localities. Species-wise, Polyxenus lagurus and P. fasciculatus both appear to be widespread in North America, but I haven’t found how to tell which is in your photo.

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