Friday, October 29, 2010

He Found WHAT in the Crawlspace?

A good friend of mine’s husband works as a carpenter. He has done some amazing work! His most recent job called for him to crawl under a restaurant in the crawl space. He noticed quickly that he was not alone down there. There were numerous little worm-like creatures poised and ready to keep him company.

As she relayed this story to me, being who I am, I asked if he could get me some of the worms to look at. Weird, I know, but you’d have to know me. We have a really cool little dish that has a magnification lid. Many an insect has been subjected to close inspection in this little dish.

Sure enough, her hubby was happy to comply and delivered me a small jar filled with dirt and worms. Actually, it turns out, our little friends aren’t worms. They are millipedes, and not centipedes, which is actually a good thing. Millipedes are harmless to humans. No toxins, no biting, etc. It didn’t take much internet research to find this out, but, in the process, the boys and I did learn some pretty interesting facts about distinguishing the two.

One major difference comes in the number of legs per body segment. Centipedes have one set; millipedes have two. In addition, a centipede has a set that faces backward off his body where the millipede doesn’t. No backward facing legs on these little guys and definitely two sets per segment. Little legs were running everywhichaway (all at the same time).

Centipede                                         Millipede
As far as I can tell, our little visitors come from the following line:

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)

     Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)

          Subphylum Myriapoda (Myriapods)

               Class Diplopoda (Millipedes)

                    Order Julida

                         Family Parajulidae

This family of millipedes is found all over the United States. A pretty exciting find to round out our Friday. I’m pretty sure I was more excited than the boys, but I think that has something to do with the fact that we had just finished school and they had been promised some Halo time. Why a video game is more fun than looking at bugs is beyond me!

One additional note - In the process of researching, I came across the house centipede – we get those around our house sometimes, and they truly gross me out. Glad to know he wasn’t working down there with these… Eww…

House Centipede

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