Subject: Is this really Sigmoria trimaculata?
Location: North Carolina
April 11, 2017 7:27 am
Hi,
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 🙂
Yours,
S

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

2 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?

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