Temporal range: Late Carboniferous–Early Permian
A model of Arthropleura armata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Diplopoda
Family: †Arthropleuridae
Genus: Arthropleura
Meyer, 1853
Type species
Arthropleura armata
Meyer, 1853
Referred species
  • Arthropleura britannica (Andrée, 1910)
  • Arthropleura cristata (Richardson, 1959)
  • Arthropleura maillieuxi (Pruvost, 1930)
  • Arthropleura mammata (Salter, 1863)

Arthropleura (meaning “jointed ribs”) was a large millipede from the Carboniferous period 320 to 299 million years ago, and was the largest known land arthropod ever.

Like all millipedes it is thought to have been herbivorous detritivores, though scientists do not have any coprolites or preserved heads to confirm.


Arthropleura was a giant millipede, it grew 2.5 meters(8.2 feet) in length, as long as a car, and was covered in hard armored plating. In December 20, 2021, the largest Arthropleura fossil was as big as a car and was found in the beach of northern England. [1][2][3] [4] [5]


Despite its menacing appearance, it was a herbivore that mostly fed on leaf litter and other plant detritus.


Arthropleura became extinct when the moist climate began drying out as the Carboniferous period ended.

In popular culture[]

  • In the Walking with Monsters episode "Reptile's Beginnings", an Arthropleura was attacked by a Proterogyrinus, it tried to fight off the creature and injured it severely but ended up a meal for the giant amphibian.
  • It also made an appearance in Prehistoric Park where zoologist Nigel Marven was chasing after one, later he found another one buried in the dirt to escape the fire. Then Nigel caught the Arthropleura and then decided to bring it back to the park.
  • It made an appearance in Primeval being oversized and possessing a venomous bite. (Inaccurately)
  • It appeared in the 2011 National Geographic Documentary Earth: The Making of Planet.
  • A young Arthropleura was seen in the 2014 Film Dinosaur Island.
  • Arthropleura can be created in the game, Jurassic Park: Builder. At first, it could only in the Glacier card packs purchasable by real money. Since April 22nd, 2016, it became a DNA tournament limited edition. It is the first terrestrial arthropod to appear in the game. It is portrayed in-game as a carnivore when in reality, it was an herbivore. It uses the Titanoboa animations, even though they are unrelated, and share almost no anatomical similarities. Furthermore, it wouldn't survive in the cold climate of the Glacier Park (located in modern-day Patagonia) due to requiring a tropical climate and higher amounts of oxygen like those during the Carboniferous period.
  • Arthropleura appeared in the animated Disney show Gigantosaurus (TV series) from time to time.
  • Arthropleura appeared in the documentary series called Prehistoric Chicago.
  • Arthropleura appeared in the recently-made Netflix Original Documentary Series, Life On Our Planet.