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Chilopoda vs. Diplopoda: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 15, 2023
Chilopoda are carnivorous arthropods with one pair of legs per segment; Diplopoda have two pairs per segment, mainly herbivorous. Both belong to the subphylum Myriapoda.

Key Differences

Chilopoda, commonly known as centipedes, are a class of arthropods known for their speed and predatory nature. They have a single pair of legs attached to most of their body segments. Diplopoda, on the other hand, are recognized as millipedes and are typically slower than chilopods. They are distinguished by having two pairs of legs on most body segments.
The chilopoda possess venom glands and are primarily carnivorous, hunting smaller insects for food. Conversely, diplopoda are detritivores or herbivores, feeding mostly on decaying organic matter and are not venomous, making them less threatening to humans.
Chilopoda have elongated, flattened bodies that allow them to move quickly and navigate through narrow spaces in search of prey. In contrast, diplopoda have rounded bodies, better suited for their slow, burrowing lifestyle, and their diet of plant materials.
Chilopods have a pair of antennae and complex eyes with multiple lenses. Diplopods, while also having antennae, generally have simpler eyes or are sometimes blind, relying more on their sense of touch.
In reproduction, chilopoda lay fewer eggs with offspring that resemble miniature adults. Diplopoda lay more eggs in damp environments, and their young undergo more distinct developmental stages before reaching adulthood.

Comparison Chart

Legs per segment

One pair
Two pairs



Body shape



Fewer eggs, offspring resemble adults
More eggs, distinct developmental stages


Produce noxious chemicals

Chilopoda and Diplopoda Definitions


Fast-moving, venomous arthropods commonly referred to as centipedes.
Chilopoda can inject venom to subdue their prey, making them effective hunters.


Creatures commonly called millipedes, which possess a hard exoskeleton and numerous body segments.
Diplopoda curl into a tight coil when threatened as a defense mechanism.


Creatures within the Myriapoda subphylum, recognized for their elongated, predatory bodies.
Hikers often encounter chilopoda in the underbrush, darting out in search of prey.


Arthropods with two pairs of legs per body segment, primarily feeding on decomposed organic matter.
The gardener appreciated diplopoda for their role in breaking down and recycling plant material.


Organisms exhibiting a distinct head with antennae and a trunk comprising numerous segments.
Chilopoda are easily identified by their segmented body structure and swift movements.


Slow-moving organisms within the Myriapoda subphylum, known for their rounded bodies.
Children often find diplopoda fascinating due to their numerous legs and gentle nature.


Carnivorous arthropods known for having a single pair of legs per body segment.
The scientist carefully studied the chilopoda's unique locomotion strategies.


Detritivores or herbivores known for secreting chemicals as a defense against predators.
Despite their peaceful nature, it's wise to handle diplopoda carefully due to their defensive secretions.


Arthropods exhibiting molting behavior as they grow and develop.
A chilopoda molts several times before reaching its full size and predatory prowess.


Organisms that undergo molting stages, with the young having fewer body segments and legs.
Young diplopoda acquire more segments and legs as they grow and pass through several molts.


One of the orders of myriapods, including the centipedes. They have a single pair of elongated legs attached laterally to each segment; well developed jaws; and a pair of thoracic legs converted into poison fangs. They are insectivorous, very active, and some species grow to the length of a foot.


An order of myriapods having two pairs of legs on each segment; the Chilognatha.


Arthropods having the trunk composed of numerous somites each bearing one pair of legs: centipedes


Arthropods having the body composed of numerous double somites each with two pairs of legs: millipedes


What are chilopoda?

Chilopoda are a class of arthropods commonly known as centipedes, characterized by one pair of legs per body segment.

Are chilopoda venomous?

Yes, chilopoda are venomous, using their venom to hunt prey.

What defines diplopoda?

Diplopoda are arthropods, known as millipedes, with two pairs of legs on most body segments.

What do chilopoda eat?

Chilopoda are primarily carnivorous, preying on smaller insects.

What is the diet of diplopoda?

Diplopoda are mostly herbivorous or detritivores, consuming decaying organic matter.

What defense mechanisms do diplopoda have?

Diplopoda secrete noxious substances and can curl into a coil for protection.

What is the reproductive process of diplopoda?

Diplopoda lay eggs in moist environments, and the offspring go through several developmental stages.

Do chilopoda have antennae?

Yes, chilopoda have a pair of antennae used for navigation and detecting prey.

Do diplopoda have venom?

No, diplopoda are not venomous but can produce noxious chemicals for defense.

How do chilopoda reproduce?

Chilopoda lay eggs, and the young mostly resemble miniature adults.

How do chilopoda defend themselves?

Chilopoda use speed and venom to defend against predators.

Where can chilopoda be found?

Chilopoda thrive in various environments, from tropical rainforests to desert climates.

Are chilopoda beneficial or harmful to humans?

Chilopoda are generally beneficial as they control pest populations, though their bites can be painful.

What are the common habitats of diplopoda?

Diplopoda prefer moist, dark environments like under logs and in decaying plant matter.

Are diplopoda dangerous to humans?

Diplopoda are harmless and beneficial for soil health, although their secretions can irritate.

How many legs can diplopoda have?

Diplopoda can have up to 400 legs, with two pairs per most body segments.

Can chilopoda regenerate lost body parts?

Chilopoda have limited regenerative abilities, primarily in their legs.

Do diplopoda undergo metamorphosis?

Diplopoda experience a form of metamorphosis, with nymphs gradually acquiring more segments and legs as they grow.

How many legs do chilopoda have?

Chilopoda have a varying number of legs, with one pair per body segment.

Do diplopoda have eyes?

Some diplopoda have simple eyes, while others are blind and rely on antennae for sensation.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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