Quick Tips What's the difference between centipedes and millipedes

What’s the difference between centipedes and millipedes?

Richard 'Bugman' Jones explains the key differences between centipedes and millipedes in this Quick Tips video.

Ever wondered how centipedes and millipedes differ? Richard ‘Bugman’ Jones explains the key variations between them, in this Quick Tips video guide.


People often get mixed up between centipedes and millipedes, these very similar multi-segmented many-legged invertebrates, but they’re wholly different groups of organisms. Centipedes are predators, with relatively large jaws. Some are long-legged for running fast over the ground, others short-legged for burrowing in the soil. Millipedes, on the other hand, are detritivores, scavenging in the leaf litter, and mostly they’re also short-legged for burrowing. The number of legs is a very poor guide, because centipedes and millipedes greatly overlap. The real difference is that, no matter how many in total, centipedes only have two legs per body segment, millipedes have four.