Millipedes vs Centipedes – What’s the Difference?

We have all seen those annoying little creatures with what seems like a million little legs in our homes. Typically, you will see these little guys curled up in a circle on your bathroom or kitchen, even basement floors. They’re called millipedes and are essentially harmless to humans and pets, however, they will secrete a toxin that is irritating and can cause burning and itching. Millipedes are 1 of the 10,000 species in the family of the Phylum Arthropoda with a life span of anywhere from 1 to 10 years. They are also in relation to the centipede, as they too are part of the Phylum Arthropoda family with a lifespan of about 6 years.

Other than being in the same family, the millipede and centipede are very different. Centipedes have legs that point outward from the body, while millipedes’ legs point down toward the ground. They are also different in size. The millipede ranges from 0.12 inches to around 10.5 inches, while the centipede ranges anywhere from 0.4 inches to around 12 inches. Though, the prefix of “centi” means one hundred, a centipede’s leg count ranges from 15 to 177. A millipede’s leg count is roughly 24 to 750. Another difference in the two species are their bodies. Centipedes have 1 pair of legs per body segment, where as millipede’s have 2.

Now that we have established the differences, what do these two have in common? Well, for starters, neither are insects. You can find both are more abundant in the spring and in the fall. Like the millipede, centipedes also prefer dark, and damp conditions to live in. Overall, it is best to not handle either of these pests, you can leave that up to us!