Say hello to my little friend

While enjoying a cup of hot tea on the patio this morning, I wondered at the growing number of insects buzzing and crawling about.  Our weather has become warm—almost hot, in fact, at least by my reckoning.  And the change has occurred in a relatively short time.

But this is no surprise to Texans.  It’s long been said we have four seasons like everyone else; it’s just that ours work on a different schedule.  Winter lasts three months or so, spring and autumn last two or three weeks each, and summer chews up the rest of the year.

With plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures, bugs are arriving on the scene with utter abandon.  I’ve already seen wasps, bees, ants, beetles, centipedes, millipedes, midges, crane flies, mosquitoes, and a litany of other creeping and buzzing critters that are too numerous to keep track of.

So this morning I sipped my tea and watched a brief teasing rain shower leap over us.  Then I glanced down and chanced to see this little fellow slowly making its way across the concrete floor.

I at first thought it was Sigmoria aberrans, the red-sided millipede, although I can’t be certain about that.  Its colors leaned more toward orange than red.  Perhaps it’s young.  Or perhaps it’s of a completely different species.

The more I looked at it, though, the more I thought it was of a different species.  I believe it might be from the genus Eurymerodesmus (family: Eurymerodesmidae), something that would preclude it from being a red-sided millipede.

Therein lies the problem with identifying insects: There are more species of bugs than anything else on the planet, and this population density means characteristics don’t always differ greatly between the various flavors.  To add insult to injury, locating photographs good enough to aid in identification can be a daunting task given the large number of insect species.

But who cares.  No matter what species it is, I thought it made for a fantastic subject in the early morning light.

A millipede walking across the patio floor (175_7521)
A millipede walking across the patio floor (175_7524)
A millipede walking across the patio floor (175_7529)

[Update] I have since come to realize this is a Greenhouse Millipede (Oxidus gracilis).

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