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Greenhouse Millipede
Flat-backed Millipede

Oxidus gracilis


Oxidus gracilis photo © by Mike Plagens

Observed in a compost heap assembled in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. June 2008.

Paradoxosomatidae -- a Millipede Family

This is the most common millipede in moist gardens in the urban areas of the Sonoran Desert such as Phoenix, Mesa, Yuma and Tucson. It is unlikely in dry, desert locations. It might be found in riparian habitats. It is not native to North America, having been introduced unintensionally from Asia. It has become a common millipede across much of temperate America.

Millipedes feed primarily on dead or dying plant material. They are important mulching organisms in that sense. Occasionally their populations will exceed the available food supply inducing them to feed on living plants or to move in-mass into homes or onto walkways in search of food - becoming a nuissance. They are not injurious to health and generally require more moisture than is present in a typical house.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008