Scientific Name : Xenobolus acuticonus
Class : Diplopoda
Tamil Name : Maravattai
Description: Body cylindrical with red and black. They are slow moving and non poisonous.
Distribution and status: Millipedes occur on all continents except Antarctica, and occupy almost all terrestrial habitats, ranging as far north as the Arctic Circle in Iceland, Norway, and Central Russia, and as far south as Santa Cruz Province, Argentina.
Habitat: Millipedes are typically forest floor dwellers, occurring leaf litter, dead wood, or soil, with a preference for humidity. In temperate zones, millipedes are most abundant in moist deciduous forests, and may reach densities of over 1,000 individuals per square meter. Other habitats include coniferous forests, deserts, caves, and alpine ecosystems
Habits: Millipedes generally have little impact to human economic or social well-being, especially in comparison with insects, although locally can be a nuisance or agricultural pest. Millipedes do not bite, and their defensive secretions are mostly harmless to humans – usually causing only minor discoloration on the skin – but the secretions of some tropical species may cause pain.
Food: The majority of millipedes are detritivores and feed on decomposing vegetation, faeces, or organic matter mixed with soil. They often play important roles in the breakdown and decomposition of leaf litter.
Life cycle: In all other millipede groups, males possess one or two pairs of modified legs called gonopods which are used to transfer sperm to the female during copulation. A few species are parthenogenetic, having few, if any, males.
Role in the environment: Millipedes are preyed upon by a wide range of animals, including various reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals, and insects. Mammalian predators such as meerkats roll captured millipedes on the ground to deplete defensive secretions and rub them off the body before consuming, while certain poison dart frogs are believed to incorporate the toxic compounds of millipedes into their own defenses.
Photo source: www.projectnoah.org