Friday, January 30, 2009

Shongololo millipede

There are various types of millipedes, but one I always like to find somewhere is the Shongololo millipede.
These guys aren't little worms and can grow up to 20cm long. Around here they are a glossy black, but I see in my nature book that you also find some with alternating yellow and black bands. I also have not found that one so they probably occur somewhere else in the country. I've always wondered how many legs a millipede actually have, so I looked it up as well. Up to 120 pairs of legs. So shouldn't they be called a twohundredandfourtypede? The babies hatch with only three pairs of legs and acquire more at each moult.
This millipede I found somewhere on a walkway had became a meal to these red bugs. I can't find what they are, but they look like some kind of stinkbug (ja ok, so I just made that up).
Edited: Thanks to Jeanne. She has informed me that these bugs are Millipede Assassin Bug Nymphs.
Just some random interestingness connected to this topic. In South Africa there is a tourist train called the Shongololo Express named after these little animals.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for the lesson....I sure am learning lots from a *jong bok* like yourself...*giggle*

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  2. Crikey 20cm thats HUGE ! that would be a snake over here lol. great shot, and the bug things yuk, great colour though...great shots, I learn something new from your blog everyday...fantastic xxxx

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  3. Haven't seen one of those for ages - we don't seem to get those large ones here in Joburg. Growing up in Bulawayo and Salisbury (Harare)- they were everywhere! We used to make them curl up tightly when touched by a stick (or a finger which the boys used to do - I grew up with brothers and boy cousins!)
    Avril

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  4. my kids used to love watching and following shongalolas in benoni where they grew up.

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  5. Oh, I've always loved these! I used to pick them up as a kid just to feel all those legs moving along your arm as they walked - even though they did give off a stinky smell when you frightened them! I rememebr one year in PE (in the late 1980s?? Early 1990s??) when there was a shongololo population explosion and you'd drive down the road at night and see hundreds of them all crossing the roads near the valley. There was no way you could avoid them, so you'd just have to shut drive, scream "sorrryyyyyy!" and not think about it too much...

    And btw those nasty red bugs are Millipede Assassin Bugs. Really!
    http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2008/02/12/millipede-assassin-bug-nymphs-feed-on-millipede-in-south-africa/

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