Asian Wildlife, Wildlife
Comments 9

Life on the Forest Floor # 3 – Recyclers

Pill millipede Glomeridae Danum Valley Sabah Borneo Malaysia

The enormous amount of plant and animal material on the forest floor is decomposed by fungi and bacteria in what is called saprotrophic nutrition – a process in which decaying matter is absorbed and metabolised on a molecular scale. The bigger bits are left for other recyclers such as worms, flies and millepedes, a group of animals often referred to as detritivores. Especially the millepedes are fascinating, roaming through the delicious rotting matter in search for food. Heavily armoured with dorsal plates, equipped with chemical-secreting glands and able to curl themselves into a tight pinball-like ball, these millepedes are able to bulldoze along relatively undisturbed. We thought that the orange-coloured giant Pill Millepede (Glomeridae) and the Tractor Millepede (Polydesmidae) we encountered in Danum Valley were particularly impressive!

Tractor Millipede Polydesmidae Danum Valley Sabah Borneo Malaysia

Giant Pill Millepede Glomeridae Danum Valley Sabah Borneo Malaysia


  1. Thank you for bringing attention to these amazing ‘recyclers.’ So much of their work goes unnoticed, and it’s so nice to see them get the spotlight 🙂 As always, I enjoy learning something new through your photography and writing.

    Best wishes,

    • Thank you Takami! Those millipedes are unsung heroes indeed and we’re glad to hear you enjoyed reading about their humble existence 🙂

  2. Pingback: Life on the Forest Floor # 2 – Fungi | i AM Safari

  3. Girl Gone Expat says

    Wow, the millepedes looks like they are equipped for war:) The orange one, the ‘Pill’, is definitely impressive!

  4. I agree the orange one is a beauty. The one I had wriggling inside my sock this morning certainly didn’t look as appealing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s