Other Common Names
Desert Millipede, Texas striped millipede (2)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Orthoporus ornatus (Girard)
Orig. Comb: Julus ornatus Girard, 1853
Cylindrical body is overall brown or black (dead individuals may bleach white in the sun). They have two pairs of legs per body segment (number of body segments, thus legs, depends on how many times they have shed because they add new segments each time they shed). (1)
They are nocturnal but may be seen in the morning following summer rains. They spend most of their time in burrows that they can dig themselves. (1)
Desert Millipedes are slow-moving and feed on decaying organic material. (1)
They can live for 10 or more years. (1)
It is known to mass aggregate, and there have been reports of "marching armies of millipedes" crossing roads near Big Bend Nat. Pk., Texas.
When disturbed, the millipede may curl into a coil and even secrete a noxious substance (may irritate your skin and certainly your eyes) along the sides of its body. (1)
Nunez, F.S. & C.S. Crawford (1977). Anatomy and histology of the alimentary tract of the desert millipede Orthoporus ornatus (Girard) (Diplopoda: Spirostreptidae). Journal of Morphology 151 (1): 121–130.
Wooten, R.C., Jr., and C.S. Crawford (1975) Food, ingestion rates and assimilation in the desert millipede Orthoporus ornatus
(Girard) (Diplopoda). Oecologia 20: 231-236. (PDF
Wooten, Jr., R.C., C.S. Crawford & W.A. Riddle (1975). Behavioural thermoregulation of Orthoporus ornatus (Diplopoda: Spirostreptidae) in three desert habitats. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 57 (1): 59–74.