In different parts of the world, the increasing agricultural practice of retaining crop stubble in fields across seasons has led to population increases of soil-dwelling arthropods, primarily detritivorous species. These species typically play a beneficial role in the ecosystem, but some, including the Portuguese millipede (Ommatoiulus moreleti (Lucas)) can be sporadic pests. To assist in better understanding of pest risk, this study examines why O. moreleti feeds on crop seedlings. For lupin, seedling susceptibility appears to be related to plant properties, with greatly different levels of damage caused to the two cultivated species (Lupinus angustinus and Lupinus albus) and particularly between cultivated and wild-type L. angustinus seedlings. Millipedes feeding on lupin (cultivated L. angustinus), but not lucerne (Medicago sativa), gained a similar amount of weight to those feeding on other foods known to be readily consumed. The life-stage and sex of O. moreleti was found to be related to seedling damage. The presence of crop stubbles (as alternate food sources) did not limit the damage O. moreleti caused to lupin, suggesting that the presence of stubble in a field situation may not preclude feeding on crop seedlings. We discuss how results from these controlled environment trials can build a basis for understanding variable crop damage by O. moreleti in the field.