Difference Between Centipede and Millipede

Earth is filled with lots of strange animals and insects. The range of these organisms is so large that many of them look similar. But one can find the difference between them by studying their species.

Centipedes and millipedes are also two creatures that have quite a similar appearance with many major differences.

Centipede vs Millipede

The main difference between centipede and millipede is that the centipedes are flatter in body structure and have visible segments. On the other hand, millipedes are cylindrical and their segment is so near that to appear to be sunken into each other. Centipedes and millipedes belong to the same family but have multiple differences between them.

Centipede vs Millipede

Centipedes are insects like animals that do not have a backbone. They have a long body which is almost like the body of a pen and so many legs attached to it.

There are two antennas at the head of the centipedes. They belong to the Animalia kingdom which means they can be both animals or insects.

The millipede is also an insect-like animal that resembles a centipede. The scientific name used in the place of Millipede is Diplopoda.

Millipedes are a member of the phylum known as Arthropoda. The segment of their body are fused and each segment has two legs. There are several features of millipedes that distinguish them from a centipede.

Comparison Table Between Centipede and Millipede

Parameters Of ComparisonCentipedeMillipede
LengthAn average centipede can be 4 to 10 inches long which makes almost 35.56 centimeters. An average millipede can be 1 to 8 inches long which makes almost 20.32 centimeters.
ShapeThe centipede is flat in shape and looks terrific and odious. They are divided into multiple segments. The millipedes are cylindrical and also look terrific and odious. They are segments that are fused.
ColourThe colors in which centipedes are found are generally greyish yellow and sometimes brown. They come in different shades. The colors in which millipedes are found are generally Black and brownish-red. They also come in different shades.
LegsThere is one pair of legs per segment in a centipede and they can have 354 legs at maximum. There are two pairs of legs per segment in a millipede and they can have 200 legs at maximum.
EggsThe average number of eggs that can be laid by a centipede is 40 to 50 at an extent. The average number of eggs that can be laid by a millipede is around 300.

What is Centipede?

Centipedes are very disgusting and dangerous critters that are found everywhere but not usually in human societies. Their body is divided into segments and each segment has a pair of the leg attached to it.

The scientific name that is given to a centipede is Chilopoda. The name ‘centipede’ is derived from a Latin word where ‘centi’ means hundred and ‘pede’ which is ‘pedis’ means ‘foot’.

Most species of centipedes are very venomous and their bite feels very painful. They’re known to inflict their legs on the skin of a person.

They use appendages that have a shape similar to pincers, to inject their venom into the body of a person. The number of legs owned by a centipede can vary between the range of 30 to 354 depending on the particular species.

They are members of the phylum known as Arthropoda. The shape of the head of a centipede is flattish and round. Centipedes tend to live under something like a stone and in dark areas.

Many other small invertebrates are included in the diet of a centipede.

They mostly hunt at night. There are various types of centipedes and some of these are stone centipede, house centipede, Scolopendridae, Geophilomorpha, etc. Centipedes move quite rapidly with their many legs.

What is Millipede?

Millipedes are usually smaller than centipedes. Millipedes are detritus feeders. They survive by eating decomposed plants and leaves. Some species are also eating fungus.

Millipedes move around at a slower speed. Unlike centipedes, millipedes are harmless. But in case they become a garden pest, millipedes are capable to destroy newborn seedlings. Some chemicals produce from the pores of the millipede’s body.

These chemicals help them to defend themselves from predators. Some species of millipedes are covered with bristles that can be detached. Experts claim that there are almost 12 thousand species of millipedes exit on earth.

Millipedes can be seen everywhere with slight changes in their body. An average millipede can be 2 to 280 millimeters long.

Just like the length, segments found in millipedes can also vary, they can be found from 11 to 100. An antenna is attached to the head of a Millipede and they have only one maxilla.

There is 16 order in which Diplopodas are divided. One order of millipede has a calcareous dorsal plate that works as armor.

Most of the time, millipedes do not bite to defend themselves instead they produce toxic liquid from their lateral glands. They are not considered to be harmful but this liquid can cause infection in some people or animals.

Main Differences Between Centipede and Millipede

  1. The size of legs in a centipede is longer that can be extended sideways while millipedes have small legs that usually do not extend.
  2. When it comes to moving around, centipedes are usually fast. On the other hand, millipedes are species that move very slowly.
  3. Centipedes are live on eating small worms and other organisms while millipedes are the critters that eat decomposed plants and leaves.
  4. Most of the species of centipedes have a yellow and brown color. On the other hand, millipedes have brownish-red and black colors.
  5. Centipedes are venomous and deliver painful bites to a person while millipedes aren’t venomous but they can harm seedlings.
Difference Between Centipede and Millipede


The members of the same phylum, centipedes, and millipedes have been around for a very long time. These invertebrates are widely spread in the world in many forms. No one is there that hasn’t seen one of these once in his lifetime.

The phylum they belong to is very large and consists of spiders, insects, crabs, lobsters, etc. That is the main reason these critters can be recognized as both animals and an insect. They are in abundance in tropical areas.

They are rarely seen in human-populated areas. Both centipedes and millipedes need a moist atmosphere to survive. These critters are very active at night time.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899825697906059
  2. https://www.zobodat.at/pdf/BERI_S10_0047-0056.pdf
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