Polydesmid millipedes at Protea Hill Farm, Lusaka.

Phylum Arthropoda

Subphylum Myriapoda

Class Diplopoda

Order Polydesmida

Family Polydesmidae

Genus unknown

Polydesmid millipedes, also known as Plated Millipedes.
These are small, long-legged, fast-running millipedes which appear at the start of the rainy season, and sporadically through the rest of the season
Milliped holes   

<----They emerge from neat round holes in damp ground a week or two after the first soaking rain.

They feed on mosses and cyanobacteria on the surface of compacted bare ground. Shown in this picture are: hepatic (blue-green), moss (green), cyanobacterium (black)
mosses and cyanobacteria on the surface
The immature millipedes
<----The immature millipedes occur in swarms of several hundred individuals, of various sizes. These swarms are seen mostly at the beginning of the rainy season, but in the current season (2009-’10) I found just one swarm at a site where I have not seen them before. It is possible they were destroyed by African Army Ants Dorylus wilverthi, which increased hugely in numbers during 2009. Individual adult millipedes would escapa attack.

During the mating period males ride on the backs of the females, although copulation, as in other millipedes, requires the ventral surfaces to come together.
Copulating millipedes

<----  The copulatory organs are on the ventral surfacesof segments near the head end
 Updated: 14 April 2014
mail to webmaster