Giant African Millipede

Wild Status:

Least Concern

Scientific Name:

Archispirostreptus gigas


Eastern Africa



The giant African millipede, is one of the largest millipedes, growing up to nearly 40cm. It has approximately 256 legs, although the number of legs changes with each moult so it can vary according to each individual.

In general, giant millipedes have a life expectancy of about 5–7 years. Giant millipedes have two main modes of defence if they feel threatened: curling into a tight spiral exposing only the hard exoskeleton, and secretion of an irritating liquid from pores on their body. This liquid can be harmful if introduced into the eyes or mouth.

Small mites are often observed crawling on their exoskeleton and among their legs. The millipedes have a symbiotic relationship with these mites, in which the mites help clean the millipedes exoskeleton in exchange for food and the protection of their host.