Subject: Is this really Sigmoria trimaculata?
Location: North Carolina
April 11, 2017 7:27 am
Searching around I found an older letter that had a yellow-legged black millipede in North Carolina (2009/05/03/millipede-3/), but both the letter-writer’s photo and the photos on the Bug Guide page for Sigmoria trimaculata showed yellow markings on the back of the millipede as well (especially the latter!).
The millipede that I found looks completely solid black on the top/back, with only its legs and… leg-plates-joiny-bits?… being yellow. I couldn’t find any Wikipedia page about Sigmoria trimaculata to look up whether this might just be a juvenile, or a subspecies, or something like that — do you know if it is the same species? If so, why is it plain black on top?
Signature: S.

Flatbacked Millipede

Dear S.,
We are generally very reluctant to state a Flatbacked Millipede is a definite species, but your individual looks very much like
Apheloria tigana which is pictured on BugGuide where it states:  “‘Apheloria tigana is the dominant xystodesmid millipede in central North Carolina, particularly the “Triangle” (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill region). Individuals typically have yellow paranota (lateral segmental expansions on the dorsa), a yellow middorsal spot on the anterior margin of the collum or 1st segment, and yellow middorsal spots on the caudalmost 3-5 segments. In central NC south of the Deep/Cape Fear Rivers there is a different and undescribed species with yellow middorsal splotches on essentially every segment.’ – Roland Shelley, North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences.”

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for the response and the link! I guess they are the sort of
creature where species identification is generally rather tricky? But
that does look exactly like my fella — much appreciated 🙂

April 14, 2017
(So in the last two days, I’ve been seeing quite a few of these
critters curled up on the sidewalk in the harsh daylight where I’ve
never seen ’em before, seemingly unable to move even when I nudge them
to a grassy area — not at all like the briskly ambulating specimen
that originally caught my eye. It’s a little worrying. The internet
says millipedes might migrate in spring and fall, but it’s pretty much
already summer hereabouts, and my searches keep coming up 90% about
millipede extermination… sigh…)

Alas, that is because there are far more people want to eliminate lower beasts from their lives than those who want to learn about them.


Location: North Carolina

3 Responses to Flatbacked Millipede

  1. Alisa King says:

    Franklinton NC near Raleigh
    This summer every time I put my hands into the soil of any of my gardens I see at least 4-5 of these millipedes. They don’t really coil, just sort of curve. I’ve only occasionally noticed them in the past. Can you think of any reason for this? Any concerns?

  2. Dottie Boiter says:

    I just saw a millipede on my front porch. I am not a bug person so it freaked me out a little bit. I now wish I had a picture to post. The one I saw was more like the insect described above by Roland Shelley. It was longer and looked like it had more legs and yellow markings on the dorsa. If I see it again I will definitely take a picture to send. Do I need to be worried??? I live in Cherryville, NC less than a mile from the Cleveland/Gaston County line. Thanks for the information you shared Mr. Rowland and thanks in advance for any input.

  3. Dottie Boiter says:

    Sorry for mis-spelling your name in the last line Mr. Roland Shelley. I’m still a little nervous from my encounter with Apheloria tigana.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.