Millipedes are complex creatures. Not only do they have numerous legs, but they also have many different sense organs, intricate mouth parts and complex organs for mating and sperm transfer. Every field of human interest develops its own lexicon. The lexicon consists of technical terms, which are often readily understood by enthusiasts and experts, but are not familiar to non-experts that might have interest in the field in question. The terminology employed to describe the features of a group of organisms develops and changes over time. Traditionally, terms were derived from the classical languages, Greek and Latin. This mode of derivation made such terms more readily understood by a global community of users, since biologists often received training in these languages.

However, the beginner often faces a bewildering array of complex and hard-to-pronounce terms. A list of terms and their definitions provides easy access to the specialized literature and will help to win over new friends, students and enthusiasts of millipede biology. Our forthcoming glossary is based on several sources as listed in the literature below. Look for a new and more complete glossary to be published on this site in the future.

A Glossary of Millipede Terms will be available as a downloadable PDF file in the fall of 2012.


Blower, J. G. 1985. Millipedes. Synopsis of the British Fauna (New Series), No. 35. The Linnean Society of London, 242 pp.

Kevan, D.K. McE. & Scudder, G.G.E. 1989. Myriapoda. Illustrated Keys to the Families of Terrestrial Arthropods of Canada. Biological Survey of Canada. Taxonomic Series No.1, 88 pp.