© Stuart M Bennett 2000
Blaniulus guttulatus
(The Spotted Snake Millipede)

Most of the millipedes describe in these pages belong to the Iuliform group, some have a length to diameter ratio of 10:1 but some have a ratio of 20:1 and the millipede pictured above is the most commonest of this latter group. It is creamy white or pale yellow and the red spots down the side are actually it's repellent glands. The animal is generally 15 mm long when fully grown, but it is no more than about 0·7 mm in diameter. It's body has about 60 segments. Although it is less often seen than the black millipeeds, because of it's strictly subterranean habits, the spotted snake millipede is the commonest of all species in cultivated soils. It causes severe damage to potatoes, sugar beet, cereals and other crops but to do any damage, the crop must already have been damaged by fungi, disease or some other insect activity,to allow the millipede entry. The spotted snake millipede is more susceptible to drought than some of the other species and it is most frequently found on the heavier soils, where there is less risk of desiccation. Damage by this species usually occurs in distinct outbreaks which are linked to soil fertility and climatic conditions. Heavily manured ground and a damp spring give the animals just the conditions they like for fast breeding, but if there is then a long dry spell the heavy millipede population may turn it's attention to crop roots in it's search for moisture.

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