26 December 2020

African Giant Millipede - Thanoumah

Whilst birding the western Mountains of the Kingdom I saw several African Giant Millipede Archispirostreptus gigas, the largest extant species of millipede, growing up to 38.5 centimetres in length, 67 millimetres in circumference. It has approximately 256 legs, although the number of legs changes with each molting so it can vary according to each individual. It is native to southern Arabia, especially Dhofar but also Saudi Arabia where it lives in the mountains to at least 200 metres above sea level. It is a widespread species in lowland parts of East Africa, from Mozambique to Kenya, but rarely reaches altitudes above 1,000 metres. They have a life expectancy of about 5–7 years and have two main modes of defence if they feel threatened: curling into a tight spiral exposing only the hard exoskeleton, and secretion of an irritating liquid from pores on their body. 
African Giant Millipede