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The largest phylum of the animal kingdom is Arthropoda.

The largest phylum of the animal kingdom is Arthropoda. This is more clear from the fact that out of all the species found on earth 78% belongs to phylum Arthropoda. It is the 6th phylum in the animal kingdom and the members of this phylum have jointed appendages (arthro-jointed; pods-appendages). Both centipede and millipede belong to this phylum.

Phylum Arthropoda is so much vast that it is again divided into 3 subphyla as

Mandibulata is the largest subphylum of Arthropoda. It has 6 classes. Since millipede and centipede belong to mandibulata we will restrict our discussion to this subphylum only.

Here two classes of mandibulata out of six are discussed to which centipede and millipede belong.

Examples- Scolopendra/Centipede, Alpes grandidieri- feather tail centipede Lithobius forficatus – stone centipede Ethmostigmus trigonous – blue ring centipede

After knowing the general characteristics of the class to which these organisms belong, it becomes easy to differentiate between the two organisms. Some people might think both are same but the following table will make the difference more clear –

Do you know that the largest existing species of centipede is the Amazonian centipede – Scolopendra gigantic (30cm in length). Also, millipedes are the oldest land animals found on earth!

Millipede has more than 20 segments and each segment carries two pairs of appendages. Millipedes belong to the class Diplopoda which got its name from two segments(Diplo). This fusion makes two pairs in one segment. As such no species of millipede have exactly a thousand legs. They have approximately 750 legs. Centipedes name is derived from the Latin name ‘cent” which means a hundred and ‘pede’ means legs. No centipede has a hundred legs in number. Each segment in centipede carries one pair of appendages and there are around 15 or more segments found in millipede.

Millipedes and Centipedes do have common things like they both belong to phylum Arthropoda, they are multiple leggers, they are found all over the world especially in tropics. They prefer moist/humid habitats. The choice of such habitat is because of their skin which is soft with no hard covering and can lose water easily in a dry environment. Their bodies are segmented. In both centipede and millipedes, respiration takes place through trachea and excretion takes place through Malpighian tubules. Both of them have one pair of mandibles and one pair of the antenna. Centipedes and millipedes lack backbone and exoskeleton.

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The average length is from 2mm to 38 cm.

Their average millimeter is from a few millimeters to 30 cm.

Have shades of brown and red. Have dark coloration.

Generally have black/brown color; some species are brightly colored.

Centipede is carnivorous and eats small insects.

The millipede is detritivores and eats dead and decayed matter.

They are found in moist habitats like soil, leaf litter, wooden logs, tropics, rainforests, etc.

They are found in gardens and flower beds. They prefer humid places.

Here copulation is not found, female receive the spermatophore and lays around ten to fifty eggs at a time

Male has gonopods which transfer male gametes to female body.10-300eggs are laid at a time.

They are venomous and poisonous to man.

They are not poisonous to man but can affect vegetation in fields.