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African mainland giant PILL millipedes


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Hello all, its my first post here, I thought I would joint the party as this place seems to be populated by reasonable and helpful folks. Anyway, I have kept isopods and millipedes for a while, with decent success but wanted to try something a little different........

.......so the story is that I have got myself a few (4) Sphaerotherium sp. (probably gigateum), reportedly from South Africa. There's just so little info out there. It seems quite a few folks have tried keeping the madagascan giant emerald pill millipedes, with universal failure, with them dying within a few months at the most, usually quicker.

 But ....... how about mainland African ones ? It seems that some folks have kept Tanzanean ones. MattK on this forum reported keeping 10 giant pills from Tanzania alive for nearly 2 years, albeit with no young, but to me that is some success.  

So, has anyone else here tried keeping Giant pills from the African MAINLAND ? Or even, amazingly, any from South Africa ?  Or MattK, have you tried again with them ?

I posted about these elsewhere and was not encouraged at all from the response. But none of this was from people with actual experience of keeping Giant pill Millipedes. I'll stick a pic up, as its always a nice touch.

Pillipede 2 291122 lores.jpg

Pillipede 291122 lores.jpg

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Welcome to the forum! I've not actually kept any millies yet, but maybe enure that there are as many different microclimates and foods as you can provide so that they can find their niche. I've always loved pill millipedes and I wish you the best of luck. We need more of the big guys in the hobby! 😁

Keep us updated!

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I found this interesting description of maintainance of colonies of giant pill millipedes from the Western Ghats in Southern India in laboratories and thought it worth sharing. They certainly seem to have used nothing special for food except loads of mixed leaf litter. Breeding was reported as not having been seen in this lab, but had happened in a partner lab.

"As a first step, ex situ maintenance of pill-millipedes has been attempted in our laboratory. We maintained four species of pill-millipedes in two types of containers. Plastic boxes (30x15x15 cm) kept in horizontal position (to have more space for movement) with decomposing mixed leaf litter is ideal condition to maintain 5-10 pill-millipedes (Fig. 4A). Plastic containers need holes on the top and sides for aeration and to supply a small quantity of water. This set up are also help to study leaf ingestion and faecal pellets production using various detritus with pill-millipede combinations (Fig. 4C, 4D). It is also possible to use the abandoned glass aquarium tanks (60x30x30 cm) to maintain 25-50 pill-millipedes with a thin mesh or cloth cover on the top (Fig. 4B). Four pill-millipedes (Arthrosphaeradisticta, A. fumosa, A. magna and Arthrosphaera sp.) were maintained on mixed leaf litter diet in glass tanks in laboratory conditions (temperature, 26-28°C) up to one year. The rate of survival was assessed on monthly intervals and survival was above 98% for the Fig. 4. Containers used in the laboratory to maintain pill-millipedes: animals feeding leaf litter in plastic bottles kept horizontally (A) and in a glass tank (B), close view of millipedes feeding on leaf litter (C) and heap of faecal pellets (D). International Journal of Agricultural Technology 2013, Vol. 9(1): 61-79 73 first six months (June-November) and at the end of 12 months, survival of Arthrosphaera sp. was maximum (86%) compared to other three species (74- 77%) (Fig 5). This shows that at least 75% of pill-millipedes can be successfully maintained on the mixed litter diet for production of compost in pilot scale throughout the year. No eggs and juveniles of pill-millipedes were seen on maintaining in the laboratory in the Department of Biosciences, Mangalore University. But, Arthrosphaerafumosamaintained similarly in Karike (near Madikeri) in glass tanks (25-27°C) laid the eggs and the juveniles were active especially during post-monsoon season."

..... this is a quote from "Observations on pill-millipedes of the Western Ghats (India) by C.N. Ambarish and K.R. Sridhar"

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