Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Harpaphe haydeniana

Yellow-spotted Millipede - Harpaphe haydeniana Harpaphe haydeniana Harpaphe haydeniana Millipede - Harpaphe haydeniana White millipede - Harpaphe haydeniana Millipede - Harpaphe haydeniana Millipede - Harpaphe haydeniana Millipede with passengers - Harpaphe haydeniana
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Myriapoda (Myriapods)
Class Diplopoda (Millipedes)
Order Polydesmida (Flat-backed Millipedes)
Family Xystodesmidae
Tribe Xystodesmini
Genus Harpaphe
Species haydeniana (Harpaphe haydeniana)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Harpaphe haydeniana (Wood) 1864
Numbers
Six subspecies.
Size
maximum length of 40 mm
Identification
A millipede with a flattened body. It has a shiny black body (sometimes with a bluish-green sheen) with bright yellow patches on the outside portion of most segments.
Range
West Coast of NA: Southeast Alaska to Monterey County, California. East to the Sierra Nevada.
Habitat
It tends to live in moist forests. (1)
Food
As with other millipedes, Haraphe haydeniana is a vegetarian and scavenger. (1)
Remarks
This particular millipede secretes a dark fluid that has an odor similar to the almond extract used in cooking. Apparently this is a defensive manuveur. Millipedes also curl up in tight coils when threatened. (1)

Caution: Many millipedes with bright color patterns secrete a compound containing cyanide. Wash your hands after handling them and do not allow children to pick them up.

"Millipedes are entirely non-toxic to humans and can be picked up by hand. Some secretions discolor the skin, but this wears away in a few days without lasting effect. Some large, cylindrical, tropical species squirt their defensive secretions up to a half meter (2-3 feet) and can blind chickens and dogs. Their fluids are painful if they get into the eyes, and persons working with tropical millipedes should be suitably cautious." ~Rowland Shelley

Harpaphe is in the tribe Xystodesmini.
See Also
H. telodonta (Humboldt and Del Norte co., CA) is slightly more brown in base color.
H. pottera (Mendocino and Humboldt co., CA) requires examination of the gonopods to distinguish from H. haydeniana.
Chonaphe is quite similar in the same region.
Print References
Buckett, JS and MR Gardner. 1968. "Revision of the milliped genus Harpaphe Cook from western North America (Polydesmida: Xystodesmidae)". Occasional Papers of the Bureau of Entomology, California Department of Agriculture 11: 1–51.