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Centipede vs. Millipede: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on January 15, 2024
Centipedes are fast, predatory arthropods with one pair of legs per body segment, while millipedes are slower decomposers with two pairs of legs per segment.

Key Differences

Centipedes, belonging to the class Chilopoda, are characterized by their elongated bodies with one pair of legs per body segment. In contrast, millipedes, classified under Diplopoda, are recognized by their cylindrical bodies with two pairs of legs per segment. Both are arthropods, yet they differ significantly in physical structure and number of legs.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024
Centipedes are generally carnivorous, feeding on insects and other small creatures. They move quickly and are equipped with venomous claws for hunting. Millipedes, on the other hand, are primarily detritivores, consuming decaying plant material and contributing to soil health. Their movement is slower and more deliberate compared to the agile centipedes.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024
In terms of defense mechanisms, centipedes use their venomous claws not only for hunting but also for protection. Millipedes, however, rely on curling into a tight coil to protect their delicate undersides, and some species can secrete irritating chemicals as a defense against predators. Both have unique ways of defending themselves but employ different strategies.
Huma Saeed
Jan 15, 2024
Centipedes typically have a more aggressive appearance, with longer, more pronounced antennae and fewer body segments. Millipedes possess a more subdued look, with shorter antennae and a greater number of body segments, giving them a more segmented appearance. This distinction in appearance is one of the easiest ways to differentiate them.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 15, 2024
The habitat preferences of centipedes and millipedes also vary. Centipedes prefer moist, dark environments and are often found under rocks or logs. Millipedes, while also favoring damp areas, are more likely to be found in decaying organic matter like leaf litter. Both play important roles in their ecosystems but have adapted to thrive in slightly different niches.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Legs per Segment

One pair
Two pairs
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Diet

Carnivorous (insects, small creatures)
Detritivorous (decaying plant material)
Huma Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Speed of Movement

Fast
Slow
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Defense Mechanism

Venomous claws
Curling into a coil, chemical secretions
Janet White
Jan 15, 2024

Appearance

Longer antennae, fewer body segments
Shorter antennae, more body segments
Janet White
Jan 15, 2024
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Centipede and Millipede Definitions

Centipede

A predatory arthropod with a flat, segmented body and one pair of legs per segment.
The centipede swiftly captured its prey.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

Millipede

An arthropod known for its role in breaking down decaying plant material.
Millipedes contribute to the health of the soil.
Huma Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Centipede

A nocturnal predator commonly found in moist, dark environments.
We found a centipede hiding under a rock.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

Millipede

A slow-moving decomposer with a cylindrical body and two pairs of legs per body segment.
The millipede curled up when I touched it.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

Centipede

An arthropod with a flexible exoskeleton and numerous legs, known for its quick movements.
The centipede moved quickly through the underbrush.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

Millipede

A detritivorous invertebrate commonly found in moist environments like leaf litter.
There's a millipede in the compost pile.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

Centipede

A member of the class Chilopoda, distinguished by its elongated, multi-segmented body.
A centipede can have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Millipede

A member of the class Diplopoda, characterized by its many body segments and legs.
Millipedes can have up to 400 legs.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Centipede

An invertebrate known for its speed and venomous claws.
I spotted a centipede darting across the garden path.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Millipede

An organism with a segmented body, known for its defensive curling behavior and chemical secretions.
The millipede secreted a foul-smelling liquid when threatened.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Centipede

Any of various predatory arthropods of the class Chilopoda, having a long flattened body composed of segments, each bearing a pair of jointed appendages. The appendages of the foremost body segment are modified into venomous claws. Also called chilopod.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Millipede

Any of various arthropods of the class Diplopoda, having a cylindrical segmented body with two pairs of legs attached to each segment except for the first four thoracic segments, and feeding chiefly on decaying organic matter. Also called diplopod.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Centipede

Any arthropod of class Chilopoda, which have a segmented body with one pair of legs per segment and from about 20 to 300 legs in total.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Millipede

Any of many elongated arthropods, of the class Diplopoda, with cylindrical bodies that have two pairs of legs for each one of their 20 to 100 or more body segments.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Centipede

A species of the Myriapoda; esp. the large, flattened, venomous kinds of the order Chilopoda, found in tropical climates. they are many-jointed, and have a great number of feet.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Millipede

Any of numerous herbivorous nonpoisonous arthropods having a cylindrical body of 20 to 100 or more segments most with two pairs of legs
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Centipede

Chiefly nocturnal predacious arthropod having a flattened body of 15 to 173 segments each with a pair of legs the foremost being modified into poison fangs
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

FAQs

What is a millipede?

A millipede is a slow-moving arthropod with a cylindrical body and two pairs of legs per segment.
Huma Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Are centipedes venomous?

Yes, centipedes have venomous claws, but they are generally not harmful to humans.
Harlon Moss
Jan 15, 2024

What do millipedes eat?

Millipedes primarily feed on decaying organic matter, like dead leaves and wood.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Do millipedes have exactly 1,000 legs?

No, despite their name, millipedes usually have far fewer than 1,000 legs, often around 400.
Janet White
Jan 15, 2024

Are centipedes fast?

Yes, centipedes are known for their speed and agility.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

What is a centipede?

A centipede is a predatory arthropod with a segmented body and one pair of legs per segment.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Do millipedes harm plants?

Generally, millipedes do not harm live plants, as they prefer decaying material.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 15, 2024

Can millipedes bite?

Millipedes do not bite, but some species can secrete irritating chemicals as a defense.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

How many legs does a centipede have?

The number of legs in centipedes varies, typically ranging from 30 to over 300.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

How do centipedes hunt?

Centipedes use their speed and venomous claws to capture and subdue prey.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Where do centipedes live?

Centipedes are often found in moist, dark environments like under logs or stones.
Harlon Moss
Jan 15, 2024

What is the lifespan of a millipede?

Millipedes can live for several years, depending on the species.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Are millipedes beneficial for the garden?

Yes, millipedes play a role in decomposing organic matter and enriching soil.
Harlon Moss
Jan 15, 2024

How do centipedes reproduce?

Centipedes lay eggs, which hatch into smaller versions of adults.
Harlon Moss
Jan 15, 2024

Can centipedes regenerate lost legs?

Yes, centipedes can regrow lost legs over time.
Harlon Moss
Jan 15, 2024

What is the main difference between centipedes and millipedes?

The main difference lies in their leg arrangement, diet, and behavior; centipedes have one pair of legs per segment and are carnivorous, while millipedes have two pairs per segment and are detritivores.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Can centipedes climb walls?

Yes, some centipedes can climb vertical surfaces.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

Are centipedes solitary creatures?

Yes, centipedes are generally solitary and only come together to mate.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 15, 2024

Do millipedes have antennae?

Yes, millipedes have short antennae used for sensing their environment.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 15, 2024

How do millipedes defend themselves?

Millipedes curl into a coil and some secrete chemicals as a defense mechanism.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 15, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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