Thursday, April 19, 2012

Worm that walks - the Millipede!




As school students we used to exclaim at 'worms that walked' with their legs that moved in a wavy pattern! We called them 'Train worms' as they resemble a train (Railvandi poochi' in Tamil).



We also poked them with a stick to see them how they coil round themselves and remain dormant! It is the Millipede (Yellow-spotted millipede, 'Maravattai' or ' Railvandi poochi' in Tamil, Harpaphe haydeniana).

They are seen only in damp places, especially in rainy season. I had wondered about it. Its skin (cuticle) is not waxy. That is why to prevent water loss, they remain in damp places. They are good burrowers: when it is summer, they tunnel down soil to the safer moist climate! They are 4cms in length and have segments that bear 30 pairs of legs. Each segment has two pairs of legs. These millipedes are black with yellow patches on the sides. They breathe through two pairs of spiracles found in each segment. Heart extends all through out their body! Male millipede bears a pair of gonopods on its seventh segment; these during copulation transfer sperms to the female for storing inside vulva for fertilizing ova. Female lays up to 300 eggs. Young ones hatch in a few weeks; they have only about twenty segments with thirty pairs of legs totally. As they grow on, the new segments are added. Millipedes' diet is decayed vegetation and so, it is considered useful like 'the friend of farmer,' the earth worm.
Kids often scream on seeing these 'worms that walk' mistaking them to be centipedes. But these millipedes are harmless wonders that are friends to all, roaming all around the portico!

4 comments:

Deodorant crystal said...

Great blog.It is very close to nature.The post is full of information about wonders found in Nature, Scientific and Medical worlds.Thanks for sharing.

Cosmos said...

Thanks for the appreciation.

Faisal Shah said...

Hello

Great information in this post.....


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Winjim Bersales said...

hi, would it be fine if I feed my hedgehog with worms like this?

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