Living With Antennae

Millipede Antenna

Millipede Antenna
Image Chung and Moon*

Millipedes, like insects have a single pair of antennae on the head. The antennae can be tucked away when the millipede is curled in a defensive position or extended to the front and sides to receive sensory information when the millipede is in motion. The antennae of the millipede support several types of sensory hairs that respond to chemicals or mechanical deformation.  They can detect chemicals on surfaces and airborne odors.  Mechanoreceptors respond to wind and air currents and to tactile stimuli when the antennae contact surfaces.

Compared to insects such as crickets that use their antennae for navigation by touch in the dark of night, the antennae of millipedes are much shorter in relation to body length. Thus, they are better adapted for sense of smell than use as “feelers”.  It is not clear what odors are important to their survival. Millipedes do not exhibit a strong response to most odors. What do millipedes smell and how do they react? That can only be known by further study.

*Kyung‐Hwun Chung & Myung‐Jin Moon. Antennal sensory organs in the female millipede Orthomorphella pekuensis. Integrative Biosciences 10:183-189.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17386357.2006.9647300

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, Taxonomy. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Antennae

  1. Pingback: Living With Antennae – Entomo Planet

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