Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Myriapoda
Class Diplopoda
Subclass Arthropleuridea
Order Arthropleurida
Family Arthropleuridae
Genus Arthropleura
1st Species Arthropleura armata
2nd Species Arthropleura mammata
3rd Species Arthropleura britannica
4th Species Arthropleura maillieuxi
Other attributes
Time Range 315-299 mya
Location United States of America, Canada, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Poland, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan
Name Meaning Jointed ribs
Physical Dimensions 2.3 meters long
Weight 340 kilograms
Dietary Classification  ??? (presumed omnivore)

Arthropleura is an arthropleurid arthropleurid millipede arthropod from the Pennsylvanian of the United States of America, Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Czech Republic, and Kazakhstan. It was named in 1853 by Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer. It was the biggest land arthropod of all time; however, it was beaten by the aquatic Jaekelopterus in terms of size.


Arthropleura resembled a large polydesmidan millipede. It was a myriapod with a elongated, flat body, broad plates protruding from the sides of each segment and running down its body, multiple pairs of walking legs, a moderately large head with short antennae and small eyes, and a semi-circular plate sitting atop its head. Its body would have been covered in a hard, chitinous exoskeleton.


Arthropleura's diet remains unknown, although some may speculate that it was an omnivore, primarily feeding on ferns, but also preying on reptiles and small amphibians.


Arthropleura grew to large sizes due to a lack of terrestrial predators to prey on it, as well as a lack of competition from other giant herbivores. A parallel trackway indicates that it was able to quickly crawl across the forest floor, avoiding any trees and rocks in the way. For a while, it has been suspected that Arthropleura was an herbivore, as ferns were seemingly found in its guts; however, those ferns were discovered to have been accidentally fossilized together with the millipede, leaving some questions about whether it was a carnivore, an herbivore, or an omnivore. Either way, it would have lived by rivers and streams, as both ferns and amphibians were plentiful there.

In popular cultureEdit

Arthropleura was first introduced to the public in the 2nd episode of the 2005 documentary Walking with Monsters, where it is depicted as a territorial herbivore with an ability to rear up like a cobra and an extreme vulnerability to attack from predatory amphibians. Since then, it has made appearances in major pieces of media such as Prehistoric Park (where it is shown as being capable of rearing up once again, as well spraying cyanide onto attackers in a similar manner to modern millipedes), Primeval (where it is depicted as a hyperaggressive, centipede-like animal armed with a venomous bite), and First Life.

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