Giant African Millipede

Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Archispirostreptus gigas

Habitat: African millipedes can be found in the lowland forests and coastal regions of East Africa.

Diet: African millipedes are detritivores, meaning their diet consists of fresh or rotting fruits, vegetables and leaves. They are the “garbage men” of their habitats.

Size: 0.3 to 1 foot long

Weight: 0.4 to 0.5 pounds

Lifespan: 5 to 7 years in the wild. Up to 10 years in human care. 

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Least Concern – a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to be pervasive, abundant, and thriving.

Did You Know?!

  • Of the thousands of millipede species, giant African milli-pedes are the largest.
  • Although “milli-” is the root word for 1,000, millipedes usually only have a few hundred legs.
  • Giant African millipedes have no eyes and instead use their antennae to “feel” their way around the world.
  • Giant African millipedes breathe through tiny holes on their bodies called spiracles. They cannot close these holes and therefore must avoid pools of water.
  • Unlike centipedes, giant African millipedes have weak jaws made for munching on decaying plant matter and cannot bite humans.
  • If attacked by a predator, giant African millipedes will coil into a tight ball or secrete a foul-smelling, bitter fluid.
  • Giant African millipedes can smell and taste with their body, including their legs.