4954 N. Shamrock Place, Tucson, AZ 85705


Orthoporous ornatus (Desert Millipedes)


Physical Features

Various colors ranging from shades of brown to yellow with black stripes, averaging 4 to 5 inches in length, cylindrical body, with 2 pairs of legs per section of the body except for the first 3 sections which have only one pair of legs.

Life Cycle

Gradual metamorphosis
Females lay 20-300 eggs underground or in an isolated area. The eggs are not cared for by the female and hatch in a few weeks. The young are smaller versions of the adult form molting as they grow and adding legs at each stage. After seven to ten molts, sexual maturity is reached. Millipedes can live up to ten years.


  • Diet: Forage for decaying organic material such as plant mulch and leaves.
  • Activity: Nocturnal, burrowing underground during the day.
  • Preferred Climate: Humid. Will see out in evenings after heavy rains.
  • Defense: Releases a foul tasting chemical from sides of the body. Will coil into a C shape and become motionless.
  • Cautions: An unpleasant odor will be exuded if crushed. Some people may be allergic to this liquid.
  • Home Invasion: Enter homes through cracks and crevices. Enter during summer searching for food or during winter for the warmer temperature.

Helpful Hints

  • Regular lawn maintenance keeping lawns cut short.
  • Watering lawns in the early morning so it can dry before evening.
  • Remove wood, leaves and other plant debris near home.
  • Recommend regular pest control service plan.

Interesting Facts

Unlike their name suggests millipedes do not have 1,000 legs. The maximum number of legs found on a millipede is 750.


They do not bite.

Nesting Sites

Usually lives in outdoor in damp places around flowerbeds or gardens.