Big and Hairy

hairy_spider.JPG
(A giant spider in Kyokushi, a place in Kumamoto known for smelling like manure all year round.)
For one interested in insects, reptiles, and other disgusting life forms, Japan is a great place to be. You can’t even escape from nature even if go to the center of the city. I thought that centipedes and giant spiders wouldn’t be able to make it outside of the country, but I was wrong.
The only bugs that I truly hate are cockroaches and mosquitoes. When I find a bug in my apartment, I usually try and put it back into the outside world, but cockroaches and mosquitoes face persecution.
Back when I lived in Aso, I had a huge furo (bath) that I never used, because it was too expensive to fill up. One day I saw a huge millipede crawl under a bucket in the tub, but then I forgot about it. The next week, when I was cleaning the tub, I found the body of the millipede under the bucket. I washed it down the drain.
The next month I started to find tiny millipedes crawling around the tub. What started as a few turned into hordes of millipedes all over the bathroom, some making it into the far reaches of my house. I think that I was being punished for letting the mother millipede die for no good reason, other than I didn’t feel like dealing with it. I helped some of the baby millipedes outside, but any that I found in the tub got washed down the drain…
Update:
Kevin’s comment on millipede reproduction led me to this site, where this excerpt was taken from:

Female millipedes make an underground nest into which they lay their eggs The nest is made by excreting soil they have eaten and using their anal folds to shape it as required. Either as a nest for a number of eggs or as a coating for individual eggs i.e. Glomeris balcanica. Female millipedes may lay as many a 2 000 eggs but a few hundred is more likely. There is great variation in the number laid within a species depending on the size and condition of the female. Some species such as Tachypodoiulus niger are iteroparous, i.e. they can lay more than one lot of eggs and may live for more than one year as mature adult. Other species such as Ophyiulus pilosus are semelparous, i.e. they lay one batch of eggs and then die.
Young millipedes hatch inside the nest and remain within it. They then rapidly, usually within 12 hours moult again into their first stadia (= instar). Polydesmus inconstans leaves the nest after this after this but other species remain in the nest for up to the first three stadia i.e. Pachybolus ligulatus. There are other variations on this theme for instance Orthomorpha (=Oxidus) gracilis remains inside the egg during its first stadium and does not hatch until after it has moulted to stadia 2. Stadia one millipedes have 3 pairs of legs on segments 2, 3 and 4 except in some Colobgnath species such as Polyzonium germanicum which has 4 pairs. However they gain legs rapidly with each moult the first young millipedes you see are normally already in possession of quite a few legs.
Temperate species tend to eat about 5X their weight in leaf litter between hatching and reaching maturity. They digest some of the plant material themselves, particularly any proteins and simple sugars. They also digest some of the micro-organisms that inhabit the surfaces of the material, particularly the fungi. Micro-organisms play a crucial role in the digestion of Millipedes by breaking down the cellulose that makes up the plant fibers into more smaller and easily digestible molecules like simple sugars. Many millipedes indulge in coprophagy, i.e. they eat their own faeces. Some species such as Apheloria montana will die if not allowed to feed on their own faeces, quite why is not fully understood.

Perhaps the millipede went down the drain, laid its eggs, and then crawled up to die. Or perhaps the eggs hatched inside her body and ate her feces. Ah, it feels so good to share information with others!

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