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Kilopod: Many Articulated Legs

What they are - biological definition

Kilopods are animals that have large numbers of articulated legs. They are arthropods and are part of the Chilopoda class. There are currently about 580 species of kilopods described.

Summary of main features:

- The body is composed of head and trunk.

- The body of the kilopods has a flat and elongated shape. It consists of several interconnected rings (segments). They feature one pair of legs per segment.

- They have many pairs of articulated legs.

- They are small because most species of these animals are between 2 and 7 cm in length.

- They have simple eyes and a pair of antennas.

- They are poisonous animals, using the poison contained in a gland to immobilize the prey. The poison is injected through claws that have in the head.

- The respiratory system is open.

Food and digestion

Kilopod animals are carnivores and feed mainly on beetles, small earthworms and larvae. Digestion is performed by a complete digestive tract that begins in the mouth and ends in the anus.


The process of breathing the kilopods is performed by a system formed by tracheas.


Reproduction of kilopods is sexual. Soon the sexes are separated in these animals. The female lays large amount of eggs.


These animals live mainly in dark and humid places. They are found in places with accumulation of rubbish and rubble, rotting tree stumps and dry sewage networks.

Examples of kilopods:

- Centipede

- Centipedes

- Geofilomorphs

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Superclass: Myriapoda

Class: Chilopoda

Biological Curiosities:

- Some centipede species have up to 191 pairs of legs.

- The largest species of kilopod is the Scolopendra gigantea, also known as the giant centipede of the Amazon. She is 30 cm long.

“The poison of the kilopods is not deadly to most humans. However, if a person is allergic to the poison, they may have an anaphylactic shock and die after being bitten by these animals. People who are not allergic will suffer severe local pain after being stung.

Centipede: example of kilopod animal.