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NEOTROPICAL Tropical & Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forest

The amazing invertebrates of South & Central America... 

Phylum Annelida: Worms

Class Clitellata/Oligochaeta 'Earth Worms'

Martiodrilus (?)crassus, 'Giamt Earthworm'.(Bellavista Lodge, Ecuador)

Martiodrilus (?) crassus, 'Giant Earthworm'.  Up to 1.5 metres long. Like many worms, they come out onto the soil surface when conditions are wet.

Phylum Arthropoda

Subphylum Myriapoda: Millipedes & Centipedes

Centipedes and millipedes are long with many legs. The main difference between the two groups is that centipedes appear to have one leg per segment (on either side), while millipedes appear to have two. Centipedes are usually fast movers, and often predate on other invertebrates, while millipedes are generally slower, and feed on decaying vegetation. The former can have painful bites, while the latter have chemical defences. Millipedes tend to roll into a defensive ball when touched; centipedes shouldn't be approached, closely touched, or insulted! 

Family Scutigeridae: 'House/Cave Centipedes'

(Tandayapa Lodge, Ecuador)

The Scutigerid centipedes are startling to us humans, scuttling along very quickly with their long legs. They often live in caves, and thus are pre-adapted to living in houses with humans, as well as drains and pipes.

Class Diplopoda: Millipedes

Order Polydesmida: 'Flat-backed Millipedes'

This is is the largest order of millipedes, with over 3,5000 species.

(Tandayapa, Ecuador)

These millipedes are called 'flat-backs' because they often have 'wings' that extend out from each body section. This group also includes all the millipedes that are known to exude hydrogen cyanide as a defence. To warn predators of this defence, these millipedes are often more colourful reds and oranges. These brighter colours combined with keeled shape, mean some people mistake them for centipedes. 

For the page on the spiders & other arachnids of the tropical American rainforest

For the page on the insects of the tropical American rainforest

Back to the page on the tropical South & Central American rainforest

Throughout the virus I am working in Australia on and off as local borders close, mostly in the Kimberley with Coral Expeditions (May-September). If you can't go travelling until everything settles down, then until then, here I am doing online guided walks for Noble Caledonia and online lectures for Silversea.