This is a pill millipede. It is not a pill-bug, even though they have developed the same defence measure against threats (by rolling into a ball) through this amazing thing called convergent evolution. Pill millipedes are classified under the superorder Oniscomorpha, and have eleven to thirteen segments. This particular specimen was found on one of my hikes (Wallace Trail, up Bung Muan a.k.a. Bukit Peninjau), and was fortunate it didn't get tenderly placed in a "safe" place by my well-meaning animal-lover friend. Two of its brethren ended up rolling a fair distance downhill the week before due to such kind sentiments.
Anyway, today I just feel like doing that - curl up into a tight ball and pretend the outside world does not exist. Such a self-absorbed, self-pitying emotion, and I won't pretend I am getting rather impatient and irritated at my extend duration of intermittent emo. I've grown to despise Whingy Irene, and I think Emotional Irene is pathetic, so I deleted the post I initially wrote, to replace it with a picture of possibly the cutest variety of millipede ever (yes, I just called a leggy invertebrate "cute").
On the topic of millipedes, I've been seeing heaps of them on hikes lately, because it is the rain season... these fellows love the humidity. 'Pedes are common on the tropical jungle trails I take, of course, but for the past few weeks we've been observing a way larger amount of them just casually ambling along, in so many different forms and even more amazingly, bursts of colour.
A particular specimen that I photographed last week (image just above), the silvery plated individual I found (along with another of its kin) along the trail to Gunung Gading's Waterfall 7 seems to be a favourite with my friends for its very industrial-looking aesthetics. This species does not curl up in self-defence; five minutes spent on prodding and flipping it over with a twig only resulted in it walking off away from me rather unhurriedly.
Just below this paragraph is this rather flamboyant giant-sized millipede that is my favourite, so far. With its gaudy colouration of black, pink and yellow, friends have gone as far as to nickname this species as "the Elton John millipede" and even "Beyoncepede".
|Spirobolida (Image credits: Alvin K)|
Not too sure if this one has the habit of curling up but I read somewhere that it releases a foul liquid in response to threats that whilst is not toxic to humans, isn't exactly something you want to touch either, so it's a case of just appreciating its beauty from a distance.
I'd really love a terrarium with just these three species inhabiting it though, they're so diverse in shape, size, and colour, yet pretty much require the same diet (decomposing plant matter) and living conditions. I do wonder, however, if a tank full of these different species might result in fighting for territory? Not too familiar with their habits in this regards.
Anyway this has been rather therapeutic. What started out as a whingy load of self-pity has somehow gone off on a tangent into an enthusiastic description of these many-legged creatures... what a nature nerd hah.
Ya know what? I shall aspire to charge through the depressive fog of the past few days, with all the single-mindedness of that stoic little silver 'pede, and just keep going and going and going and going instead of being a total wuss sitting here blubbering in front of my PC.