Odd Mark - abrasion? disease? got into something weird?

MontePython

Arachnopeon
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Feb 13, 2020
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Okay, so just about five minutes ago, I noticed that my S. sp.8 had some kind of odd smudge near her head. She's been acting pretty much normal. Some nights I don't see her, but most nights she comes out and forages on the surface (especially if there's supplementary food, but even if there isn't), and is pretty active when she's not hiding/sleeping. When I picked her up, she did curl up, again, like she normally would (thankfully not like what some may remember from the issues with my O. guineensis).

I've taken a few photos with flash. Without flash it looks kind of just slightly off-colour? Almost like when something is marked with chalk or a very watered-down paint and you can see the normal colour through the chalk/paint?

It doesn't seem to be bothering her - she's not trying to rub it off or anything. Doesn't really seem aware that it's there.

Nothing too major has changed in her set-up between now and when I last saw her out. The temperature still isn't as consistently high as I'd like it because of the winter chill (though I've finally got it so it very rarely dips below 22C/72F and often gets up to 23-24C/75-76F), but the humidity seems to be doing better, as the substrate is staying damp. I added a large piece of climbing/hiding enrichment (it's a fake mangrove root that I added fake leaves/real moss to and anchored into the bottom, so it can be climbed or used as a hide), but that was almost two weeks ago, and it was properly sterilised before being added at around the same time I added in my springtails (I've got some standard itty-bitty ones, and then a smaller group of ones that are a larger species).

Any ideas?

(Okay it's mostly all with flash, and then I think the second-to-last one is without)
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AuroraLights

Arachnosquire
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Oct 30, 2019
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74
Wow, firstly can I say she's an absolute stunner! I love the dark forest green, I wish one of my S.sp.8 had those colours. :) I really hope she is okay!
I'm no expert, but it does look a bit like a fungal infection to me. On the positive side though, carapace fungal infections are about the only affliction in millipedes you can actually do something about. I've heard of people successfully treating them with diluted athlete's foot medication, but I don't know the details so hopefully someone else can advise. I think in the short term I'd probably dry the tank out a little bit to see if that helps. If you have a water bowl in there for them to drink from I think they'll be fine being slightly drier for a bit and there's a chance it might help.
I definitely don't think it would have been the mangrove root that caused it. I've actually heard a theory that most fungal infections in millipedes are a result of comprimised immune systems, due to old age or poor conditions, which mean that a fungus that already lives in their environment and is usually harmless can get a hold on them. So just because a fungal infection suddenly shows up doesn't necessarily mean that something new has gotten into your vivarium, it could have been there all along, possibly even on the millipedes themselves. I don't know if there's any actual proof for that theory or if it's just from people's observations, but it sounds very plausible to me. I mean, millipedes live in environments that are absolutely full of fungi, so it makes sense that they'd have ways to combat harmful ones.
 

MontePython

Arachnopeon
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Feb 13, 2020
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28
Wow, firstly can I say she's an absolute stunner! I love the dark forest green, I wish one of my S.sp.8 had those colours. :) I really hope she is okay!
I'm no expert, but it does look a bit like a fungal infection to me. On the positive side though, carapace fungal infections are about the only affliction in millipedes you can actually do something about. I've heard of people successfully treating them with diluted athlete's foot medication, but I don't know the details so hopefully someone else can advise. I think in the short term I'd probably dry the tank out a little bit to see if that helps. If you have a water bowl in there for them to drink from I think they'll be fine being slightly drier for a bit and there's a chance it might help.
I definitely don't think it would have been the mangrove root that caused it. I've actually heard a theory that most fungal infections in millipedes are a result of comprimised immune systems, due to old age or poor conditions, which mean that a fungus that already lives in their environment and is usually harmless can get a hold on them. So just because a fungal infection suddenly shows up doesn't necessarily mean that something new has gotten into your vivarium, it could have been there all along, possibly even on the millipedes themselves. I don't know if there's any actual proof for that theory or if it's just from people's observations, but it sounds very plausible to me. I mean, millipedes live in environments that are absolutely full of fungi, so it makes sense that they'd have ways to combat harmful ones.
Thank you! She was the last one at the vendor I picked her up from and the person I talked to mentioned that she was one of the most striking ones she'd seen in a long time! I'm hoping she'll be all right too!

That was kind of what I was thinking/was afraid of to be honest. There's a water dish in there, so I'll lay off misting for a bit and maybe prop open the food door (I meshed it like we talked about in the other thread) a little more than usual for a bit. I have to run up to the pharmacy on Monday morning anyway, so maybe I'll pick up some medication then (I did a quick search and found a few threads on how to dilute/how much to use and how often/etc. So hopefully that will help things.

On the upside, she's one the calmest about being handled in unusual ways. When I was getting my grain mites fixed, I used the old 'damp q-tip' method to get some of them off, and she was well-behaved about it (especially compared to the thrashing about my A. gigas did - she's good with being handled but not prodded I guess lol), and she was pretty good about letting me tilt her/move her to take the pictures last night, so hopefully she'll be good with being treated for the possible fungal infection.

Fortunately, at the moment most of my millipedes don't spend a great deal of time right up against each other (except for A. gigas and S. fischeri who often share space in/under this one cork log tube). She usually either hides under the leaf litter or burrows a little bit below the surface. S. servatius has buried himself pretty deep I think (I'm not sure but I've not seen him under any leaves etc. - but he's young enough that he's got quite a bit of growing left so he might prefer being out of sight most of the time, and D. macracanthus, the newest addition is generally pretty active day and night, and I'm not 100% sure where he goes when I can't see him (he's long, but small and thin enough that he can get into spaces I don't usually think of as being hides). So at least no one seems to be overcrowded.
 

MontePython

Arachnopeon
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Feb 13, 2020
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28
Okay so weird update.

I did end up buying the athlete's foot meds just in case, but last night i saw her out while I was getting ready to sleep, and decided to check on her...and the marks are gone? I even used my flash and flashlight to see if they showed up (in case the light was just bad) and there's nothing there!

However, this morning, I did notice that some of my leaf litter has some stuff (mold? fungi of some kind?) that looks a similar colour coming up in places (there are also some that have other kinds of small splotches, etc). Should I be worried about this and maybe replace my leaf litter? Or is that just something that naturally happens? I wonder if maybe I was misting too much and it caused that (I was misting almost daily, but haven't for the last day or two).

On the other hand, the fungus gnats have fianlly returned. Sigh. When my butterworts shift into active mode, then we'll be in better shape. Now I have to just grin and bear it lol
 

MadMilli

Arachnosquire
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Apr 4, 2018
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118
This is going to sound weird, but I had a similar issue with a lizard. Namely a mourning gecko. Blue mold was growing under a piece of bark that I put in the enclosure while the tank was still getting seasoned with springtails and what not. The bark was the gecko's favorite place to hide under and eventually she started growing a mold hat. Literally blue mold on her head, but it all came off after she molted. You're probably fine.
 

MontePython

Arachnopeon
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This is going to sound weird, but I had a similar issue with a lizard. Namely a mourning gecko. Blue mold was growing under a piece of bark that I put in the enclosure while the tank was still getting seasoned with springtails and what not. The bark was the gecko's favorite place to hide under and eventually she started growing a mold hat. Literally blue mold on her head, but it all came off after she molted. You're probably fine.
Oh wow! That's pretty wild! I'm glad she was okay, but I can imagine that must have looked really interesting.
 

NopusNatus

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Jul 20, 2018
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Chlorociboria has a similar color to the stains on your millipede and can inhabit hardwood and conifer. It can often stain the wood and substrate it lives in. Oak that has been inoculated with Chlorociboria is often called “green oak”. I’m not positive that is what you are seeing, I’m just throwing out an idea.
 

MontePython

Arachnopeon
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Chlorociboria has a similar color to the stains on your millipede and can inhabit hardwood and conifer. It can often stain the wood and substrate it lives in. Oak that has been inoculated with Chlorociboria is often called “green oak”. I’m not positive that is what you are seeing, I’m just throwing out an idea.
Oh. HUH.

So I just did a quick google to see if it's native to my area (and therefore possibly in some of the wood in my substrate even after baking or mixed with with some of the pieces that have lichen on them), and
1585080955129.png
"Tunbridge ware" is a form of decorative wood inlay using natural wood colours - including those pigmented by xylindein - that was pioneered...literally in the area I live right now. I collected some (though not all - some of it is from other areas of the country) of my rotten wood from a wooded area near my flat that is populated almost entirely by really big old oaks and beeches.

So you're probably right on the nose there, or at least damn close.

I guess the question now is whether or not it's harmful to millipedes...though she seems to have been able to rub it off without even trying, and seems none the worse, so, I'm not sure. Definitely thanks for that tip though!
 

MontePython

Arachnopeon
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Feb 13, 2020
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Update:

The marks haven't come back, but she's now acting strangely.

She's still fairly active, and sometimes coils up somewhere or other to sleep, but on multiple occasions I've just sort of found her stationary on the surface. If picked up, she doesn't always immediately coil, but sometimes does after a moment, or else immediately grips onto my fingers/sleeves/what-have-you with her feet and coils when I try to put her back down.

Naturally, this makes me rather concerned especially after my earlier experiences with millipedes sprawling on the surface (though she seems to have full control of her back end and isn't doing any overtly odd behaviours apart from this).

There's nothing I can really think of that she might be reacting to - I've let the tank dry just a smidgen to reduce anything that might have cropped up before + while I was reducing the fungus gnat population a bit, but there's a water dish just in case and the substrate isn't particularly dry except on the very surface (I know for sure that S. servatius has been burrowing in it - A. gigas tends to just dig out a crater underneath the hides to create a sort of open-ended burrow that she shares with S. fischeri when the latter isn't doing the same with other hides. I'm not 100% if D. macracanthus has been burrowing or not - just that he vanishes whenever he's not visible, so I don't know if he's underground or just in a spot that its hard to see, but point is, it's definitely dig-able substrate).

I'm kind of worried it's a similar situation as with my previous O. guineensis experience, especially since I got them at the same time, from the same vendor. Granted, I got my A. gigas at the same time/same vendor as well, and she's fine, but I know they're a whole 'nother breed of tough, even by millipede standards.
 
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