Fun Spirobolida Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 18, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 12, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Spirobolida facts are great for kids.

Are you interested to know more about millipedes? If yes, then you should learn about the order Spirobolida that contains hundreds of species of these creatures.

It falls under the kingdom Animalia, phylum Arthropoda, and class Diplopoda like other millepeds. These cylindrical creatures are distinguished as the round-backed variants mainly because of a pronounced suture or joint present in front of their head.

Most of these millipedes are brightly colored and are found in tropical areas worldwide. Just like most other millipedes, these have two pair of legs in each body segment that allows them to move ahead and burrow into the soil.

When threatened, the creatures can release a defensive chemical and turn themselves into a ball. In the seventh ring lies the modified gonopods of these creatures that are related to reproduction. The millipedes go through three life cycles to turn into full-blown adults.

Even though the life of these creatures may seem boring but it isn't at all. These creatures survive in the wild by feeding on dead and decaying material. So, keep reading in order to know more Spirobolida facts.

Also, check out the articles on Lycaenidae and grizzled skipper.

Spirobolida Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Spirobolida?

Rather than just being a single species of animals, Spirobolida is an order of the kingdom Animalia that consists of about 500 species of round-backed millipedes distributed in 12 families.

What class of animal does a Spirobolida belong to?

The millipedes belonging to the order Spirobolida belong to the class Diplopoda and to the superorder Juliformia as well as to the phylum Arthropoda. On the other hand, a similar-looking animal, the centipede belongs to the class Chilopoda.

How many Spirobolidas are there in the world?

We can't possibly tell the exact population of this order of millipedes as it's spread over several families and genera. However, there are some species, especially from the genus Eucarlia that have either gone extinct or are at a threat of going extinct.

Where does a Spirobolida live?

The millipedes from the order Spirobolida are said to belong to the tropics. So, the distribution can include anywhere in the world depending on the tropical climate.

Some of the common species like the Narceus americanus live in North America especially in Georgetown, Texas, and in the northern part of the Ottine wetlands.

On the other hand, the Crurifarcimen vagans are endemic to Tanzania and have been only found in the Usambara Mountains.

The Spirobolid millipedes from the genus Eucarlia are endemic to the island of Seychelles. Interestingly, the Anadenobolus monilicornis is a Spirobolida millipede that's native to the Caribbean, but it was introduced to Florida, and many people are also interested to keep it as a pet because of the unique bee-like coloration.

What is a Spirobolida's habitat?

The millipedes from the Spirobolida order belong to the tropics. So, most of these creatures like to stay in hot and humid conditions found in tropical areas.

The natural habitat would include the forest ground with leaf litter, decaying wood logs, and other rotting materials that make up a good substrate for the creature to thrive. These millipedes often have a habit of burrowing into the soil for keeping moist.

Who does Spirobolida live with?

Except for the mating season, most millipedes, including that from the Spirobolida order are distinguished for being solitary creatures. However, when the larvae initially hatch, the babies would mostly aggregate in one place.

How long does a Spirobolida live?

Compared to other arthropod relatives, the millipedes have a long natural lifespan of around 5-10 years. However, in captivity, the creatures may only live for up to 3-5 years.

How do they reproduce?

One of the most interesting things about the millipedes is reproduction. Amongst the several pairs of legs, the male has modified gonopods that are used in mating.

These modified gonopods usually transfer packets of sperms to the female which leads to the fertilization of the eggs. The gonopods usually lie between the seventh ring or segment of a millipede depending on the species, usually having the eighth and ninth pair of legs.

These creatures go through three stages in the life cycle - egg, nymph or larvae, and adult.

The larvae are born with three pairs of legs and with each molt, more pairs and number of segments are added to the body. Females usually lay eggs inside the soil or decaying material.

What is their conservation status?

These millipedes are classified into several hundred species. Hence, it would be hard to find out the conservation status of each species. However, data related to most of the species suggest that the population is steady. Most of them are Not Listed under the IUCN Red List.

Spirobolida Fun Facts

What does the Spirobolida look like?

When it comes to the looks of the Spirobolida millipedes, it is distinguished by the pronounced suture or joint that runs down its head. That's why it's known as the species from this order are known as the round-backed millipedes.

However, you wouldn't be able to notice anything just by taking a look at these cylindrical creatures. Most have a large body with a brown or reddish color.

But, some species like the yellow-banded millipede are especially distinct because of the brown and yellow rings on the large body.

Compared to other relatives, the fifth ring or segment has only one pair of legs. Other than that, most of the creatures look like other millipede relatives and have gonopods hidden inside their pockets.

How cute are they?

We don't really think that a Spirobolida can be called as cute as the bearded fireworm. Having said that, there are definitely some millipedes, like the yellow-banded millipede which have been distinguished for a unique look.

How do they communicate?

If you notice a millipede it's quite obvious that it doesn't have great eyesight, but the presence of its ability to smell helps the creature to move along. Moreover, the presence of two pairs of legs in each body segment helps it to feel the ground while moving.

The millipede also communicates with the help of chemicals. When it feels threatened, a defensive secretion is released to ward of the predators.

How big is a Spirobolida?

The body size of the spirobolid millipedes is up to 7.8 in (20 cm). The species are known to have large colorful bodies.

Even the Crurifarcimen vagans were once thought to be the largest millipede species in the world until the Archispirostreptus gigas or the giant African millipede was discovered to grow larger up to a body length of 15 in (33.5 cm). However, currently the former is known as the largest millipede of the Eastern Arc Range.

How fast can a Spirobolida move?

Unlike centipedes, most kinds of millipedes, including the Spirobolid species do not move very fast. With the numerous legs in its body, the creature moves in a wave-like motion and it's also able to burrow.

How much does a Spirobolida weigh?

We don't know about the weight range of any distinct species present in the order.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no distinguished names for the male and female of these creatures belonging to the class Diplopoda.

What would you call a baby Spirobolida?

The babies of spirobolid millipedes would be called larvae.

What do they eat?

When it comes to the Spirobolida characteristics of feeding, you need to look at the habitat of these creatures. Living in a tropical climate means, that these get a good distribution of decaying matter which forms the main food of all kinds of millipedes.

Rather than being considered herbivores, because of the distinct eating habit of these creatures, it's classified as a detrivore. Millipedes scavenge to survive so you can find it living near decaying matter, leaf litter, upon wooden logs, and in other similar areas.

When there's a lack of dead material, the millipedes may move towards consuming fresh leaves. However, it cannot survive for a long time in dry conditions.

When kept at home, it can be given millipede food available at the pet store. At times, you can also include cut vegetables into its diet by burying the segments under the soil substrate.

Are they poisonous?

No, the spirobolid millipedes aren't poisonous to humans. However, when these creatures feel threatened, it does release a defensive secretion from the repugnatorial glands which may irritate and stain human skin.

The secretion mainly consists of benzoquinones and hydroquinone. You may find a millipede releasing this secretion when it's stressed. So, it's best to handle a pet millipede as little as possible to avoid stress.

Would they make a good pet?

Usually, it might feel quite strange to take millipedes as pets, but you would be thrilled to know that some people do enjoy keeping these creatures in their homes. However, that doesn't apply to all spirobolid species.

Hence, you should check the nearest pet store to find a millipede that you can keep. One of the great things about keeping these millipedes as a pet is that it's fairly easy to take care of.

As it belongs to the tropical climate, make sure to keep it in an enclosure that is fairly warm and has moist soil with decaying matters. At least 50-90% of humidity should be present in the environment.

Did you know...

It's a common belief that all millipedes from class Diplopoda have one hundred legs in its body. However, the notion is wrong and millipedes usually possess two pairs of legs coming out of each segment.

The exact number may vary, but millipedes may have anywhere between 40-400 legs based on a species. The wandering leg sausage species can have around 112 legs found distributed among its 56 body segments.

There are around 35-60 body segments in the millipedes of the Spirobolida order from the class Diplopoda.

Types of Spirobolida

There are approximately 500 species of spirobolid millipede species, so it would be really hard to list all of them. However, you should know that the order Spirobolida is divided into further two suborders Spirobolidea and Trigoniulidea.

The ten families of spirobolid millipedes falling under the classification of Spirobolidea are Allopocockiidae, Atopetholidae, Floridobolidae, Hoffmanobolidae, Messicobolidae, Spirobolellidae, Spirobolidae, Pseudospirobolellidae, Rhinocricidae, and Typhlobolellidae. While the two families of spirobolid millipedes present in the Trigoniulidea suborder classification are Pachybolidae and Trigoniulidae. Don't get confused between the family Spirobolida and the order Spirobolida.

What animals come under the Spirobolida family?

The order Spirobolida comes under the kingdom Animalia and phylum Arthropoda. This classification contains round-backed millipedes that are mainly found in the tropics.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these white-clawed crayfish facts and lychee stink bug facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable is for Insects coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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