The Giant Round-Backed Millipede (Pachybolus) is in the Spirobolida Order and Pachybolidae family of round-backed millipedes. It is not an insect, nor an arachnid. It is a diplopod.
The Giant Round-Backed Millipede has a thick, elongated, cylindrical, segmented body with a hard exo-skeleton. It can be brown-black, red or yellow. Although millipede means a thousand legs, it actually has about 200 legs. It has two pairs of legs per body segment. It has a short head with a number of simple eyes called ocelli – and poor eyesight. It has short antennae.
It grows to about 18 centimetres (7 inches) long.
The Giant Round-Backed Millipede is native to Africa, Madagascar, Seychelles, Brazil, Australia, India, and south-east Asia. It prefers tropical locations.
It is herbivorous and detritivorous, eating plants, fruit, leaf litter, and decomposing matter.
It moves in a wave-like motion, with each pair of legs lifted at the same time. As a defence mechanism, it curls up into a coil or ball.
The female lays about 100 eggs in loose soil.
Location of photographs: Paris Zoo, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM