Geographical Range North America
Habitat Forests, woodlands, grasslands
Scientific Name Narceus sp.
Conservation Status Common

Missouri is chock-full of suitable habitats for millipedes. You can find them almost anywhere there is moist, decaying vegetation.

Millipedes have bodies made up of numerous segments. The Missouri millipede has four legs (two pairs) per segment, except for the seventh segment on males which holds the reproductive organs. Newly-hatched millipedes not only have numerous pairs of legs, but with each molt they add legs and body segments.

Unlike centipedes, millipedes don’t bite and are timid creatures. To protect themselves against predators, they roll into a ball and secrete hydrogen cyanide from special glands.

Most of the approximately 8,000 species of millipedes are scavengers or plant eaters, living primarily on decaying plant and animal matter. Some species burrow under the soil. In Missouri, many millipedes migrate in the spring and fall, which is when they are most noticeable.