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Millipede - Apheloria virginiensis

Millipede - Apheloria virginiensis
Mineral County, West Virginia, USA
June 7, 2004

Millipede - Apheloria virginiensis
Sort of like a Cordyceps fungus? Maybe, but I did not see any fruiting bodies. The dead millipedes were just dried out and crisp.

The odor these emit is just heaven
I agree with Leroy: "They are quite tame, and I have handled them many times without any problems. The cyanide secretion makes them smell just like marzipan!" .. Man do they smell good. Here in New Jersey I consider it a good hike when I run into one of these highly colored dudes .. I'm scooping them up imminently .. its hard to describe such a pleasant odor.

Brown and orange millipede
Found 3 of these flat backed brown and orange striped millipedes right after hurricane Irma passed over Florida. One was dead, two were very much alive.
The largest (escaped) was approximately 3 inches, the smallest was approximately two inches. The dead one was around 2 1/2 inches.
Are these common to north central Florida? Never saw one before. Usually I just see the giant dark brown ones everywhere.
I assume they have some kind of toxin due to the reddish coloring. So I did not touch them with my bare hands. Was a little concerned the cats might get into them.

big millipede
I've seen these here in southern VA; they were common where we lived in southern MD too. They are quite tame, and I have handled them many times without any problems. The cyanide secretion makes them smell just like marzipan! One day in MD I was walking thru the woods and came to a room-sized area of tall dead weed stems, and each one of the stalks had one of these millipedes curled up dead, on top of it. There were at least 50 of them. They had apparently all decided together that it was time to go, like a crustacean Jonestown. Very weird, spooky and sad.

About Those Millipedes You Saw
This species is a host for a type of parasitic fungus -(Arthrophaga myriapodina)- that make infected millipedes climb before dying. I’m thinking the millipedes you saw that day in the woods dead on top of those weed stems could have fallen victim to an infection caused by this fungus. Sounds like some kind of ‘zombie fungus’, kinda wild when you think about it.

Dead Millipedes
Sort of like a Cordyceps fungus? Maybe, but there were no fruiting bodies or anything. The millipedes were just curled up, dry and crisp.

Video of another
I just posted a video of one of these at: and borrowed some of the comments from the bugguide, along with a link to the guide on youtube. I'm not violating anything by doing this, am I?

NIce video
You're certainly not violating any rules.

I just reposted the video, as I misspelled millipede (again) and made some technical errors that had the explanations out of view. The new version is at .

i live in maryland. the first
i live in maryland. the first time i saw these millipedes was in 2009. i have handled them frequently and never had any problems with them

Millipede found
My co-worker and I found two of these several weeks ago in South Central Pennsylvania. They were the first ones either of us had seen in this area.

this centipede
is also in ny i found 2 of them today and shook them a little to keep them in my net and they released their chemical and made me extremly sick so my advice is dont touch them with bare hands they were found in lake monroe near ballston spa

So sorry to hear that you're extremely sick from this.
Can you tell us how you're doing now? What were the effects and how long did they last? I hope you've completely recovered.


Apheloria virginiensis corrugata
Yes, the three individuals with pinkish paranota (the lateral segmental expansions of the dorsal surface) and the yellow transverse connecting band, is indeed A. v. corrugata. It occurs from the vicinity of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Lovely image of a lovely animal, but please be careful, everyone, if you decide to handle millipedes with this color pattern. Their defense is to secrete a cyanide compound. Not washing your hands after touching one is hazardous to your health. Do not allow your children to pick them up. Just the same, no need to kill the millipedes, either, of course.

I think this is Apheloria virginiensis corrugata or something very close to it. See comparison image here.

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