Millipede from Syria

strange worm
April 10, 2010
this is the second group of pics , from the mountains of tartous.
this worm produced a very disgusting smelly liquid,as i tried to poke it.
native people here call it “the mother of all snakes”.what is it?
thank you bug people…i have been very demanding lately.
Tartous,Syria.Middle East


Hi again WAEL,
This is an easy identification, provided we don’t need to go to the species level.  This is not a worm, but a Millipede in the class Diplopoda.  Your letter contains the observation regarding the “smelly liquid” which is released as a defense mechanism.  According to BugGuide:  “many emit poisonous or foul-smelling substances
” and Charles Hogue, in his book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin indicates that cyanide is a component of this substance.  One of your photos also depicts a second defense mechanism, coiling into a ball.  Thanks so much for providing the excellent local name of “the mother of all snakes.”

Photo of author


BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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