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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

The Thousand Legs. Julus Londinensis.—Julus Guttatus

page 25

The Thousand Legs. Julus Londinensis.—Julus Guttatus.

Fig. VII.

Fig. VII.

1, Julus Londinensis; 2, 3, J. guttatus; 4, J. terrestris; 5, horn; 6, 7, Polydesmus complanatus; all magnified; and 2 and 6, nat. size.

The hop sets, or young plants, are rugose and knotty, affording much shelter or cover for the eggs, grubs, and pupae of insects. Planters usually plant two or three of these sets together to form one plant centre. These, while keeping a separate or distinct existence, become much inter twisted, having many knots and cavities, hiding places, which are made use of by many species of the Julidæ or "thousand legs." These are very frequently found in such cavities and in great abundance, especially where any decay has commenced. This they intensify, if they do not actually cause it, and if they contrive to penetrate into the softer more sappy parts of the plant-centres they rapidly occasion dangerous rotting. It is commonly held that these thousand legs are merely attendants upon decay and do not themselves create it; but the formation of their jaws adapted for gnawing and biting proves clearly that they are active sources of injury to plants. The thousand legs, millipedes, must not be confounded with the species of another family of Myriapods, known as Scolopendridœ, or, familiarly, centipedes, whose jaws are quite differently formed and live on insects and animal matter. The two species commonly found injuring various crops in England are distinguished as Julus Londinensis and Julus Guttatus. Similar species are known in France, Germany, and America, where they injure beans, peas, cabbages, many corn crops and hop plants. The mischief, or rather the source of the mischief, which these creatures occasion to hop plants is not at first apparent, and it would be desirable that planters should examine the roots of the plants closely when they flag or show symptoms of disease.