Glomeris marginata (Villers, 1789)

Common name

Pill Millipede


GB IUCN status: Least Concern

ID Difficulty



This distinctive species, reaching 20 mm in length, is unlikely to be confused with any other millipede but it is frequently mistaken for pill woodlice (such as Armadillidium vulgare) by inexperienced recorders. The last body segment of Glomeris is undivided but in the woodlice it appears to be split into three smaller segments. Also, when the animal is enrolled Glomeris is more egg shaped compared to the spherical balls formed by pill woodlice.

J.P. Richards
J.P. Richards
R.E. Jones
Andy Keay
Andy Keay
Keith Lugg
Keith Lugg
Christian Owen
Warren Maguire
Warren Maguire
Nicola Garnham

Distribution and Habitat

This species is widespread and common in England, Ireland and Wales but is not found north of the Midland Valley in Scotland. It is believed to be restricted by low temperature (Kime, 1995) and is rarely found at altitudes above 300m. Kime (2004) reported a similar situation from the Ardennes in Belgium. Although it has been recorded from a wide range of habitats and soils, this species is most typically found in deciduous woodland on calcareous loam soils. Habitat data analysis also suggests a strong association with bare rock, including screes, but strong negative relationships with sand dunes and with disturbed, human influenced sites including cultivated land, waste ground and churchyards. In Flanders, Van Den Haute (1999) has shown calcium content of the soil to be the most important factor determining abundance of the species.

In Europe this millipede is found eastwards to Poland and from the Pyrenees to southern Norway (Kime, 1990). It is most common in the west and is restricted to lower altitudes and coastal areas further east (Kime, 1995). Males mature in their second or third year, females in their third or fourth year. Adults can be found throughout the year but are collected most frequently in the spring and autumn. Individuals may survive to an age of 10-11 years (Heath, Bocock & Mountford, 1974).



Heath, J., Bocock, K.L. & Mountford, M.D. 1974. The life history of the millipede Glomeris marginata (Villers) in north-west England. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London, 32, 433-462.

Kime, R.D. 2004. The Belgian Millipede Fauna (Diplopoda). Bulletin del’Institut royal des SciencesNaturelles de Belgique, Entomologie, 74, 35-68.

Kime, R.D. 1995. Records of millipedes in central southern England. Bulletin of the British Myriapod Group, 11, 37-58.

Kime, R.D. 1990. A provisional Atlas of European Myriapods Part 1. Fauna Europaea Evertebrata Vol 1

Van Den Haute, L. 1999. Faunistiek en ecologie van Diplopoda (Myriapoda) in Vlaamse bossen. Unpublished thesis, University of Ghent.



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