Feature Journal

The Roly Poly Pill Millipede

19 July 2013

Pill Millipedes are probably the cutest millipedes one could find. When disturbed, it rolls up into a ball, exposing only the tougher segmented backs and keeping the softer underparts out of sight. The most interesting bit comes when it determines that it is safe enough to come out from hiding and run about again. As it could be in any position when rolled up, it might sometimes be a challenge to get back on it’s feet, rolling around (hence the term roly poly) until the tiny feet catches onto something.

    Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida) - DSC_0347
  1. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida)

    Here’s the Pill Millipede all snugly rolled up. It has 12 body segments behind the head.

  2. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida) - DSC_0402
  3. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida)

    Pill Millipede taking a peek, slowly opening up

  4. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida) - DSC_0453
  5. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida)

    Oops.. it rolled the wrong way! Kinda reminded me of a baby.

  6. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida) - DSC_0494
  7. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida)

    While it was struggling, I was being really unhelpful and took shots from all angles.

  8. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida) - DSC_0506
  9. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida)

    After a brief struggle, the roly poly managed to turn itself over

  10. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida) - DSC_0356
  11. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida)

    Pill Millipede finally touching ground!

  12. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida) - DSC_0421
  13. Pill Millipede (Sphaerotheriida)

    A simple animation of the Pill Millipede opening up.

  14. Nursery Web Spider (Pisauridae) - DSC_0284
  15. Nursery Web Spider (Pisauridae)

    Nursery Web Spider hiding at the edge of a hole in a leaf. This way, it could easily leap to either side of the leaf when danger approached. Irritating to most macro photographers. 🙂

  16. Common Flashwing (Vestalis amethystina) - DSC_0313
  17. Common Flashwing (Vestalis amethystina)

    Lovely Common Flashwing found sleeping in the night. The blue iridescence on the wings are remarkably beautiful.

  18. Common Flashwing (Vestalis amethystina) - DSC_0329
  19. Common Flashwing (Vestalis amethystina)

    Noted that when I positioned my flash from above, the iridescence could not be seen

  20. Common Flashwing (Vestalis amethystina) - DSC_0345
  21. Common Flashwing (Vestalis amethystina)

    Close up on the body of the Common Flashwing

  22. Common Flashwing (Vestalis amethystina) - DSC_0346
  23. Common Flashwing (Vestalis amethystina)

    Not forgetting a close up of the wings of the Common Flashwing

  24. Thread-Legged Assassin Bug (Emesinae) - DSC_0368
  25. Thread-Legged Assassin Bug (Emesinae)

    Victor showed me this Thread-Legged Assassin Bug dancing on a tree trunk. It felt like trying to focus on a string of flimsy thread when I was shooting this!!

  26. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_0509
  27. Jumping Spider (Hyllus sp.)

    As I was having problems with my flash earlier, I lagged behind the group but they were nice to keep an eye on this Jumping Spider for me before I caught up.

  28. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_0511
  29. Jumping Spider (Hyllus sp.)

    Usual drill… look left…

  30. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_0513
  31. Jumping Spider (Hyllus sp.)

    Look right…

  32. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_0518
  33. Jumping Spider (Hyllus sp.)

    This time, the Jumping Spider looked at me!!

  34. Weevil (Curculionidae) - DSC_0526
  35. Weevil (Curculionidae)

    Before we left the trail, Victor found this tiny Weevil perched on a dead branch. I was feeling too lazy to shoot, but am glad Victor edged me on to take a shot!

More shots from the same night have been documented in my earlier blog post: Moulting – A Natural Wonder.

The complete album can be viewed here.




Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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