Tachypodoiulus niger

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Tachypodoiulus niger
Tachypodoiulus niger 1.jpg
T. niger walking over moss
Tachypodoiulus niger 2.jpg
T. niger in defensive posture
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Myriapoda
Class: Diplopoda
Order: Julida
Family: Julidae
Genus: Tachypodoiulus
Species: T. niger
Binomial name
Tachypodoiulus niger
(Leach, 1814) [1]

Tachypodoiulus niger, known variously as the white-legged snake millipede or the black millipede, is a European species of millipede. It is very similar to other species such as Cylindroiulus londinensis, from which it can be reliably distinguished only by studying the shape of the telson.[2] It occurs in the British Isles, Spain, France, Benelux, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic,[1] and is especially common on chalky and limestone soils.[2]

T. niger has a roughly cylindrical shiny black body, with around 100 pairs of contrasting white legs[3] on its 41–56 body segments.[2] It lives in leaf litter, under bark or in moss, and feeds on encrusting algae, detritus[3] and sometimes fruit such as raspberries.[2] Predators of T. niger include the centipedes Lithobius variegatus and Lithobius forficatus[3] and hedgehogs.[4]

T. niger is most active from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise, although in summer it also becomes active in the afternoon.[5] Like many millipedes, T. niger coils itself into a spiral, with its legs on the inside and its head in the centre, when it is threatened,[2] but it can also flee with sidewinding movements.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Tachypodoiulus niger (Leach 1814)". Fauna Europaea. Retrieved June 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Stuart M. Bennett (2000). "Tachypodoiulus niger". 
  3. ^ a b c "White-legged snake millipede – Tachypodoiulus niger". Natural England. Retrieved June 28, 2007. 
  4. ^ B. Lundrigan & J. Bidlingmeyer (2000). "Erinaceus europaeus: western European hedgehog". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. 
  5. ^ Barundeb Banerjee (1967). "Diurnal and seasonal variations in the activity of the millipedes Cylindroiulus punctatus (Leach), Tachopodoiulus niger (Leach) and Polydesmus angustus Latzel". Oikos. 18 (1): 141–144. doi:10.2307/3564643. JSTOR 3564643. 
  6. ^ "Tachypodoiulus niger vs. Julus scandinavius" (in German). diplopoda.de.