Vietnam Rainbow Millipede (Atopochetus dollfusii)

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Vietnam Rainbow Millipede
Atopochetus dollfusii
Vietnam Rainbow Millipede (Atopochetus dollfusii)
Name Vietnam Rainbow Millipede
Name Lat. Atopochetus dollfusii
Synonym Tonkinbolus dollfusii
Family Round-backed Millipedes
Family lat. Pachybolidae
Order Spirobolid Millipedes
Order lat. Spirobolida
Origin Southeast Asia
Habitat Tropical forest
Diet Detritus, fruits, veggies
Humidity 70-80 %
Behavior Nocturnal
Keeping Individual, pair, group
Care Level Moderate
Housing Humid terrarium
Breeding Difficult
Life Span 3-5 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 11 cm
Temperature Day 22-25 °C
Temperature Night 20-22 °C
Housing Size 40 x 40 x 40 cm
US Units
Size 4.3"
Temperature Day 72-77 °F
Temperature Night 68-72 °F
Housing Size 15" x 15" x 15"

Distribution and habitat

The distribution range of the mainly crepuscular and nocturnal silver red-striped milliped is in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. They inhabit tropical forests and plantations.


A terrarium with a minimum size of 40 x 40 x 40 cm (L x W x H) is recommended. The terrarium should be placed in a quiet place without sunlight.

You will need a 10-15 cm deep substrate, which should consist of a mixture of terrarium humus, foliage (oak), rotting plant material and small branches, enriched with lime (e.g. crushed cuttlefish or bird sand). It is recommended to add a drainage layer (e.g. gravel) to prevent the substrate from sinking. In addition, a shallow water dish, cork tubes and pieces of softwood branches stacked on the bottom, which also serve as hiding places and food. Rotten and eaten branches must be supplemented regularly. All substrate should be kept moist at all times. Daily, the inside of the terrarium should be finely sprayed with water (humidity), but a rain or mist system is better.

Temp. day: 22-25 °C Temp. night: 20-22 °C Humidity: 70-80

The soil temperature (no soil heating) should be a constant 23 °C and the lighting time should be 8-12 hours, depending on the season. Light sources that also produce the necessary heat are ideal.


They eat mainly rotting plant material (leaves and wood), supplemented with ripe fruit (especially banana), raw potato slices, lettuce and vegetables (e.g. zucchini pieces). The feed must be enriched (dusted) with a lime preparation or e.g. cuttlefish to build up the skin armor. To cover their protein needs, canned cat food, dried insects (e.g. crickets) and especially for young animals fish flake food should be offered occasionally

A regular and varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

The sexes are difficult to distinguish, in males the pairs of legs are transformed into gonopods in the 7th segment. The female lays her eggs in oothecae within about 4 weeks. The incubation period is about 1-2 months. The larvae remain in the substrate for some time, where they feed on organic material before coming to the surface. Larval rearing is very difficult.

Life expectancy can be about 5 years.


Silver red-striped centipedes can be used as a cleaning column in any terrarium with an appropriate climate. They utilize food remains and keep the substrate loose.

They have a defensive secretion that is bactericidal and irritating to the skin. Contact may cause skin discoloration and allergic reactions such as painful blistering. Affected skin areas should be rinsed thoroughly with water immediately. Inhalation of the vapors should also be avoided. Wearing of gloves is recommended.

Animals should only be transported in well-ventilated containers filled with substrate, as they can poison themselves and each other in stressful situations.

Before purchase, a terrarium should be prepared that meets the species-specific needs. Good ventilation without drafts is necessary, as well as equipment for measuring temperature and humidity. The lighting has to correspond to the species-specific day-night rhythm and should be placed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves. The terrarium should be locked in such a way that neither unauthorized persons can open it nor the animals can escape. Special attention must be paid to thorough hygiene and impurities must be removed regularly.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: HENKEL & SCHMIDT (2010): Taschenatlas Wirbellose für das Terrarium, Verlag Ulmer; ENGELMANN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Harri Deutsch Verlag