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Copulating Millipedes

Copulating Millipedes
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-02-07
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Canon 60mm EF-S f/2.8 Macro USM, Digital ISO 400, UV 55mm Marumi
Exposure: f/4, 1/60 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Mating, !Loodzwaar, A study in Entomology (insects) 1, Macromania [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-02-07 20:32
Viewed: 10257
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Red millipede - Narceus annularis

I am no expert in entomology thus I am not sure if this is 100% correctly identified. If there is anyone out there who could assist and/or correct me, please do so?

This is my first attempt at critter macro photography taken in my garden yesterday morning, while I was waiting for my lift to pick me up for work. I noticed this x-rated activity in a bush of Anselia gigantia orchids and just could not resist invading their privacy by having a quick shot at it. As time was not on my side I really had to point and shoot which was a pity because I would have loved to spend some time experimenting and trying different settings. I have not used my macro lens since I got it and looking at the results I realise that I should definitively spend some time with it. It just increased my respect for some of TN's macro critter specialists.

Maybe this is not the best shot to start of with my attempt at macro photography, but I would like to hear from the TN guru's in order to learn and hopefully improve on my technique.


Millipede literally means "One thousand legs". Millipedes are slender, hard-shelled, worm-like arthropods with elongated rounded body segments. The one most commonly seen is the black and red Narceus annularis, one of about 1,000 species.

Millipedes have between 60 and 400 legs (depending on the species), with two pairs of legs on each body segment (the taxonomy of the Class Diplopoda is due to this arrangement). When millipedes hatch from eggs, they have only 3 pairs of legs, adding the additional legs as they molt seven to ten times over the course of their lives. As adults, the 1st and 4th segments have no legs and the 2nd and 3rd only have one pair. The number of legs is then 4 times the number of segments minus 10.

Millipedes are important indicators of trends in land-water relationships, such as acid rain, as they affect the biosphere. This is because they have a limited ability to migrate, depend on stable conditions of moisture and shelter (they feed on decaying vegetation and leaf litter), and since they have evolved very little since they first appeared about 380 million years ago in the Devonian Period.

Millipedes, like many hard-shelled arthropods, give off a repugnatorial (distasteful to predators) fluids. The secretions are produced in glands that are in each segment along the sides of the body with the exception of the head and the sections immediately behind. The secretion of the Narceus annularis is a benzoquinone that is a foul-smelling compound that repels potential predators such as birds, toads and rodents. Source.

Camera settings
ISO setting – 400
Aperture – f/4
Shutter speed – 1/60 (Hand held)
Focal length – 60mm
MR-14EX Ringlite flash used.

Post Processing was done with ArcSoft Photo Studio 5.5

petrudamsa, hummingbird24, smirnese, Dyker, Shoot_Score, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna, betsie has marked this note useful
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To smirnese: Thank youloot 2 04-08 08:04
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Critiques [Translate]

A great job. The good saturated colours and the sharpness ads up to the composition and the romantic subjects, to make together a very strong photo.

Regards, Petru

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-02-08 2:15]

Very sharp details on these amorous millipedes. The vivid red attest to their passion. : P
I have never seen millipedes this color. Well done and TFS. : )

Hi Loot,
Very good macro!
The sharpness and details are excellent,
good exposure and lighting, I've never seen red millipedes, thanks for the interesting note.
Well done and thanks!

I have never seen millipedes doing this before Loot!

This is a great first attempt at macro photography, and details are wonderful (all those little legs..)

Nice colors, POV, exposure and BG.

Well done, thank you for sharing this with us!

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2006-02-12 8:11]

Wow, this is a great shot, the POV is excellent.
Colors and sharpeness superb.

Very good colors and sharpeness.
Very good job.
Thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • Krima Gold Star Critiquer [C: 60 W: 5 N: 7] (8)
  • [2006-03-08 12:38]

Hi Loot!!
Great macro!! Great composition ...Best regards!!

Hi Loot,
Great POV showing amazing colours and well-seen details whereas focus could be better. Useful note (except from a small mistake "Class Diplopoda instead of Class Diploda")
Thank you for sharing.

One thing I've learned about macro photography (which I really enjoy) is to increase the f stop to increase the DOF so all parts of the millipedes are in focus. Otherwise fabulous first try, Loot!


  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-06-02 16:44]

Hi again,
Your galery is excelent!
This is maximun in quality, originality and beauty!
TFS, José M.

Hello Loot

Ek moet sê, dit kan nogal seker 'n belewenis wees om gelyktydig deur soveel hande (seker maar pote) bestreel of bevoel te word. Ek sal nou nie verder daaroor uitwei nie, maar ek dink nie daardie WWF rofstoei greep kan veel pret wees nie. As ek die storie so bekyk dan wil dit vir my lyk of hierdie tweetjies hulle ding in 'n orgidee plant gedoen het na aanleiding van die stingels en wortels wat ek kan sien.

Die kleure van hierdie twee duisendpote is iets besonders. Ek het al gesien wanneer hulle paar, maar ek het nog nooit hierdie kleure gesien nie so dit moet sekerlik 'n spesifieke spesie wees wat so rooi vertoon. Jy het die oomblik egter puik vasgelê (al was jy in so 'n haas) en dit is 'n plesier om hierdie een te aanskou.


Hi Loot
Ek se dit oor en oor - jy bring die kleure so mooi uit in jou fotos. Hierdie een is besonders.

Hallo Loot
Now what can one say about this subject? A pair of "worms" entangled in one another's space. Can this be called beautiful? Of course it can be called beautiful; I mean the photography and not the Millipede’s. Don't get me wrong, I am sure there are many people who will disagree with me, it is just not my favourite topic or subject. BUT This image is a very unusual and wonderful shot, with perfect details, rich in colour and the clarity of the ringed texture of the body is great. A super moment captured of these mating critters. The sight of the "thousands" of legs in all directions is super.

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