A myriapod ("many-legged") is any of various arthropods belonging to several closely related groups, having long segmented bodies, one pair of antennae, and at least nine pairs of legs. According to one system of classification,
Myriapoda is a class of arthropods
containing only centipedes (Chilopoda)
and millipedes (Diplopoda). A significant
point of distinction between these two groups is that whereas centipedes
have a single pair of legs attached to each body segment, millipedes have
two pairs (hence, the name diplopod).
|Orthoporus ornatus. This desert-dwelling
giant millipede is about 8 inches long. Credit: David B. Richman,
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.
According to another taxonomic system, the Myriapoda is a subphylum of the
arthropods, including, as well as centipedes and millipedes, pauropods (Pauropoda)
and symphilids (Symphyla).