“Daddy! I found a callerpitter, and since I didn’t want it to be lonely, I found it a friend too!”

Now, I don’t know a lot about insects and creepy crawlies, but I know what a caterpillar basically looks like. This was NOT a caterpillar.

Using my best calm voice, I asked Katie to keep the critters in a container and to not touch until Daddy had done some internet research.

Best guess, she found a pair of Apheloria tigana, aka Flat Yellow Leg Millipedes. I saw “These secretions contain a cyanide compound and a strong odor…”  and I flipped out. I ran out the door to where Katie was about to release them back onto the ground and made sure she didn’t touch them with her skin. 

Of course, after I came back inside, I read the rest of the page – “…but are harmless to the skin. They will not release their secretion if allowed to croll onto your hand.”

Oh well. Better safe than sorry.

3 responses to “Katie Brings Home a Millipede”

  1. When I was an interpretive naturalist with Tennessee state parks, I used to catch them on the trail, put them in my cupped hands and set the group smell the almond odor (cyanide) and I told them about the “warning coloration” of the critters which helped protect them. It was always a great teaching moment when I found one and they are all over the woods.

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