Dated 425 million years ago during the Silurian Period, the first animal to show evidence of breathing oxygen was a millipede. Its fossil was discovered by an amateur collector from Scotland in 2004. It exhibited tiny openings, not visible to the eye, taxonomists refer to as spiracles for oxygen intake.
Comparison to Centipedes
Millipedes are detrivores, feeding on decaying plant material, and most of them live in moist habitats. Unlike their cousin centipedes, most are not predators, they don’t bite or have a poison sting. They are slower moving because their legs may be numerous, but tiny in proportion to the rest of their bodies. Their bodies are rounded and not flat like that of centipedes. Also, centipedes have one leg per body segment, whereas millipedes have two per segment.
Although their name suggests they have thousands of legs, the truth is, they most commonly have from 36 to 400, which is still a lot of legs! This (Narceus, americanus) millipede is a rather large species which grows up to four inches in length. I think its kind of cute. Anyway, the largest millipede today is the Giant African Millipede reaching up to 12 inches in length, but the largest ever discovered in the entire history of millipedes dwarfs the African Millipede. It lived during the Carboniferous Age and scientists estimate it grew two meters long and a meter wide. It’s no wonder, there was more than enough for it to eat during this age of lush tropical forests.
I HAVE WRITTEN A CHARMING STORY ABOUT “THE BRAVEST LITTLE MILLIPEDE” WHO DARED TO BE THE FIRST OF HIS TRIBE TO VENTURE ONTO DRY LAND. CLICK THE LINK BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHECK IT OUT!
Phylum: Arthopod (having segmented body, exoskeleton, jointed legs)
Class: Myriapoda (means 10,000 legs)
Subclass: Diplopoda (having two legs per segment)