Ivory Millipede

Chicobolus spinigerus “Big Pine Key”


Mixed sizes: $8/each
Starter colony (8 mixed): $60

Detailed Species Stats -Click-

  • Adult Size: 90 mm.
  • Care Level: Easy.
  • Temperature Requirements: 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Air Humidity: Not picky.
  • Substrate Humidity: Moist.
  • Favorite Foods: Rotten wood, well-rotted leaves, zucchini, eggplant.
  • Locality: Big Pine Key, Florida, United States.

Read the Collection Story Here! -Click-

My second ever all-out bug trip to Florida was full of memorable moments. From close encounters with neonate copperheads to swashbuckling, free-ranging death crabs in the rental car, I often recall the holistic experience fondly. One of those particularly fond tales begins in the burning midday sun on Big Pine Key.
Despite being homeward bound, our party was still itching to cover as much ground and flip as much stuff as possible in an attempt to absorb the full glory of bug hunting in the Florida keys. One pull-off in particular appeared particularly serene, and those of us willing to brave the heat staggered out of the car and into palmetto wasteland before us. A tentative search adjacent our vehicle turned up an intriguing millipede with a purplish hue. I collected it, not thinking much of it. Though the others quickly tired, bug aficionado and professional roach-wrangler Alan Jeon and I trekked on into the homogenous blur of subtropical burn zone that lie before us. We stumbled about in the relentless heat for what seemed like hours, sweat dripping from every imaginable place and all sense of direction desiccated from our bodies. Sure, there were some highlights: a few unique Centruroides scorpions beneath the charred rocks and the occasional Florida whipspider similarly situated, but being roasted alive and bombarded with lethal subtropical UV radiation surely nicked a few weeks off both our lifespans. Our biological clocks ticking in ever-increasing intensity, we decided to chance finding our way back to the vehicle. Every direction seemed simultaneously right and wrong, in spite of our best efforts to navigate our surroundings. Eventually we staggered out onto a dirt road; the only animal life there to great us a tiny racer snake who was surely just as crazy as we were to be out in the heat. Surely the respective bug deities decided to smile upon us that day, as that road just so happened to lead us back to the one on which our trip through hell began. Our comrades were as thrilled to see us alive as they were pile us into the card and blast the air conditioning, and we head eastward across the keys as the sun began to set. Soon after Alan and I had ingested, inhaled, and absorbed every ounce of cold water and air in the vehicle that we could, we discussed our acquisitions and plans for cultivation. It was then that I realized that in my delirium I had overlooked one of Alan’s most precious finds; another millipede that matched mine. Despite my previous shortcomings with millipede husbandry, Alan gave me his specimen in the hopes that we had managed to find a pair. Against the odds, we inevitably lucked out; within months of the trip both millipedes matured and soon after I was delighted to find dozens of vigorous babies crawling about the enclosure. At the time of writing (December 2016), the founding female is alive and well at almost 3 years old, though her mate has long passed. Their many offspring have secured their kind a long-lasting place in captivity, and it is likely that none may ever experience the merciless, sun and fire baked hellscape from whence they came ever again.

The ivory millipede ranges from the Carolinas south to the Florida Keys. Once split into two species (with spinigerus assigned to the namesake “ivory” toned strains and pilsbryi to the darker ones), all color forms are presently considered a single species (though this may change in the future). This locality boasts dark banded adults with high-contrasting stripes between each body segment. Immatures glow with delicate undertones of pink and violet. In addition to its beauty, “Big Pine Key” is perhaps the best beginner millipede; once breeding has been established with this species the keeper should feel confident enough to consider other varieties.