Kentucky Flat Millipede (Apheloria virginiensis)

The Kentucky Flat Millipede (Apheloria virginiensis) is definitely something you might find in one of my Graveyard Terrariums.

With an unusual look for a millipede and its gentle nature, it’ll be a loyal companion that you won’t soon forget.

Read on to learn more about how to provide the best care and habitat for your Apheloria virginiensis.

Common Name Kentucky Flat Millipede
Family Name Xystodesmidae
Scientific Name Apheloria virginiensis
Use Cleaning, Aerating Soil, Pets
Temperament Non-aggressive
Lifespan 7+ Years
Diet Detritivore
Adult Size 5 cm
Breeding Type Egg Layer
Care Level Easy
Minimum Tank Size 5-10 Gallons
pH 7.0-8.4
Hardness Soft
Temperature 60-75°F

What Are Kentucky Flat Millipedes?

Kentucky Flat Millipedes, also known as Apheloria virginiensis, are from the family Xystodesmidae.

This species is native to the Eastern United States and is widely distributed throughout Kentucky and Virginia, which is where its common name comes from.

A. virginiensis are known to reach adult sizes of 5cm with some specimens reaching more. With proper care and habitat, they can live up to 7 years.

What Do Kentucky Flat Millipedes Look Like?

Apheloria virginiensis are small millipedes with segmented bodies covered by mottled patches of yellow, cream, and dark brown.

They have at least 20 pairs of legs, depending on their age, and an oval-shaped head.

Adult millipedes can reach an impressive size of five centimeters in length or longer, with females generally smaller than males.

Spatial markings on their segmented bodies give them a “flattened” appearance, which gives them their name.

They have eye spots that detect light, but they don’t have eyes the way humans do.

Millipedes also have a set of antennae that aid in their sense of smell, touch, and taste.

Benefits Of Using Kentucky Flat Millipedes

Using Kentucky Flat Millipedes in vivariums is an ideal choice for beginner and experienced pet hobbyists due to their small size and low maintenance.

The millipedes are easy to feed, as they are omnivorous and will feed on many substrates and other decaying plant matter.

They also require minimal substrate height to make them feel safe and secure in their habitats.

Lastly, the millipedes are perfect for people looking to create a healthy, natural, and low-cost enclosure, helping to keep the environment within the tank balanced.

Apheloria virginiensis "Kentucky Flat Millipede" Care Guide

Kentucky Flat Millipede Facts

Kentucky Flat Millipedes are docile pets native to North America.

They have an expected lifespan of up to 7 years and prefer a habitat of temperature and humidity-controlled environments.

Apheloria virginiensis understand and interact with their surroundings, so providing for their natural needs is important.

As millipedes are nocturnal, they are attracted to dim light and warm environments.


Kentucky Flat Millipedes are native to the Appalachian Mountains and the surrounding regions.

They are found in parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky.

These nocturnal millipedes are ground dwellers and live in dark, damp forests with deciduous leaf litter, where the humidity and temperature are moderate. 

In the wild, Apheloria virginiensis are found under rocks, logs, and leaf litter, as well as in piles of rotten wood and vegetation.


Apheloria virginiensis are scavengers in their natural habitat, feeding on decaying organic material such as leaves, dead insects, and even other millipedes.

They also require moisture in their diet, as part of the humidity in their environment.

They’re an omnivorous species and will eat both animal and plant matter, with their preferred foods being of the softer variety.

In the wild, they prefer fungi, fungi-derived material, and decaying wood. Providing your millipede with a balanced diet of these items will ensure that they stay in good health.


Kentucky Flat Millipedes are generally gentle and shy animals that can make great pets.

They tend to be non-aggressive and non-venomous – making them ideal for homes with children and other pets.

Apheloria virginiensis co-habit the same environment as other millipedes – but it is essential to keep the number of millipedes to a minimum for optimal breeding.


The life span of Kentucky Flat Millipedes is estimated to be between four and seven years.

After mating, female millipedes carry an egg sac beneath their body for about two weeks as it hatches and the larvae reach maturity.

The larvae’s body is initially white and becomes progressively darker throughout their development.

During the larval onto adulthood, the millipedes will molt up to sixteen times. 

At five months old, the millipede will become an adult and their growth will slow down significantly.

The size and color of the millipede change over its life cycle.

They will generally be darker in color during the colder winter months and become paler in the warmer summer months.


Kentucky Flat Millipedes reproduce with a sexual reproduction process. The male will release pheromones to attract the female, who will then be drawn to him for mating.

To ensure that the male and female successfully mate, it is best to provide the flat millipedes with a clear substratum for the female to lay her eggs on.

The female will lay her eggs on the substratum in batches of 10-15 eggs. After the female has laid her eggs, the male will release sperm to fertilize them. 

When the eggs hatch, the babies (which are called “nauplius”) will start their lives as small replicas of the adult Apheloria virginiensis.

The babies will eat their eggshells and need to molt (shed their exoskeletons) 12-15 times to reach their adult size in length.

Since Apheloria virginiensis have both male and female offspring, they can reproduce continuously in an environment that is well-maintained and has enough food available.

Where To Find Kentucky Flat Millipedes

If you are looking to purchase an Apheloria virginiensis, it’s best to check specialty pet stores or online vendors.

If you’re lucky enough to find a local supplier, you may be able to find some for sale at a reasonable cost.

It is important to make sure the millipede is healthy and properly cared for by the supplier before you purchase it.

If you would like to find a millipede in the wild, make sure you research the areas in eastern North America where these creatures live.

Kentucky Flat Millipedes are commonly found on the floor of deciduous forests and can sometimes be spotted at night due to their nocturnal nature.

The summer months are the best time of year to look, as this is when they tend to be the most active and visible.

Kentucky Flat Millipede Care

Apheloria virginiensis requires a specific habitat with features such as a moist terrarium substrate, complements such as leaves and plants, high humidity, and generously warm temperatures.

Proper nutrition, ventilation, and handling techniques also need to be taken into account to ensure your millipede is healthy and happy.

With the right care, your Kentucky Flat Millipede can live up to seven years.

Tank Requirements

The ideal tank for your Kentucky Flat Millipede should have an enclosure of at least 10 gallons.

A terrarium or paludarium is both suitable for housing Apheloria virginiensis.

It should have a slightly acid pH with a soil hardness of 3-5 °dGH and moderate temperatures of 65-70F.

Bedding/substrate is important to mimic the millipede’s natural environment, such as using a combination of sphagnum peat moss and coco peat soil.

For terrarium lighting, a shallow dish with a scheduled day/night light source should be used, as Apheloria virginiensis is inactive during the day.

What Do Kentucky Flat Millipedes Eat?

To ensure your Kentucky Flat Millipedes remain healthy and happy, it is important to provide them with a proper diet.

These millipedes are omnivores and can be fed a variety of foods, including vegetables, fruit, and even some proteins. 

The ideal diet for the Kentucky Flat Millipede should be high in calcium and low in phosphorus. 

That can be achieved by providing a calcium and vitamin powder supplement to their food.

This powder should be sprinkled sparingly on top of the food you provide to them.

As with all animals, Apheloria virginiensis should be provided fresh water as often as necessary.

The water should be uncontaminated and changed daily.

Below is a list of safe and healthy food items to feed your Apheloria virginiensis

  • Apples 
  • Blueberries 
  • Cabbage 
  • Lettuce 
  • Kale 
  • Crickets 
  • Grubs 

If you’re more of an avid hobbyist like myself, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY Millipede food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.

The Ultimate DIY Millipede Food Guide | Best Food + Recipes

Best Tankmates For Kentucky Flat Millipedes

The Kentucky Flat Millipede is a solitary species, so when considering tankmates, it’s important to pick animals that have similar care needs.

Some good choices are smaller species of terrestrial millipedes, isopods, and springtails

These animals are great choices because they require similar lighting, humidity, and substrate requirements.

When it comes to keeping tankmates with Apheloria virginiensis, it’s important to remember to provide all animals with adequate space and resources as well as monitor potential conflicts.

A safe and stimulating environment is essential for healthy animals, so providing the right tankmates is an important part of the process.


With proper care, handling, and a suitable environment, your Apheloria virginiensis will live a healthy and happy life.

If you research the right supplies and develop a basic understanding of the species, your Pet Millipede should receive the care and attention it needs to thrive!

Frequently Asked Questions

The defensive secretion of Apheloria virginiensis contains a compound called hydrogen cyanide, which can cause skin irritation and a burning sensation if it comes into contact with human skin or mucous membranes. However, the amount of toxin produced by these millipedes is relatively low, and the symptoms are usually mild and short-lived.

To get rid of a Kentucky flat millipede infestation, remove their habitat, seal entry points, use a residual insecticide, vacuum them up, or hire a pest control professional. Millipedes are not harmful to humans or pets and can be removed without harm and released outside in a suitable habitat.


Kentucky flat millipedes are detritivores, which means they primarily feed on decaying organic matter such as dead leaves, plant debris, and wood.  In addition to detritus, some species of millipedes may also feed on fungi or other small organisms.

Apheloria virginiensis is a species of millipede in the genus Apheloria, which belongs to the family Xystodesmidae. The genus Apheloria includes several species of millipedes found in the eastern United States, many of which are known for their striking coloration.

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