Centipedes are carnivorous arthropods and are not likely to consume wood. In actuality, arthropods commonly known as wood eating centipedes are millipedes. While millipedes do closely resemble centipedes, millipedes are herbivores and detritivores, subsisting on dead and decaying plant material, including wood or cellulose material. On occasion, the millipede also consumes living plants.
Millipedes are elongated arthropods with segmented bodies and multiple pairs of legs. While some species may have up to 750 legs, there are no species that truly possess one thousand legs. Millipedes known as wood eating centipedes normally have between 30 to 90 plus pairs of legs. When a millipede moves, these legs tread the ground in a wavelike motion.
The first segment of the millipede does not include legs, and only one pair of legs is present on the second, third and fourth segments. The first three segments compose the thorax of the creature, while the fourth marks the start of the abdomen. For a wood eating centipede to be identified as a millipede, it must be subcylindrical in form or circular in cross section. In contrast, centipedes appear flattened.
Millipedes are terrestrial arthropods. They dwell in moist habitats such as the undersides of rocks, hollows of rotting logs and beneath leaf debris and soil. An adult millipede measures 2 mm to 11.5 cm in length. Millipedes possess a calcified exoskeleton, which molts away with subsequent growth.