Experts will make you understand you centipedes aren’t really insects. They’d tell you that centipedes are myriapods and they are the distant cousins to insects. Centipedes are characterized by their elongated body and numerous tiny legs. These are features that distinguishes them from insects.
Centipedes are naturally insectivores and they hunt and eat bugs by paralyzing then using their venomous sting. Even though centipede means “a hundred feet,” there aren’t any species of centipedes with exactly 100 feet.
Scientists have been able to identify about 3,100 species of centipedes around the world- even above the Arctic Circle.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Chilopoda
- Order: Scolopendromorpha
- Family: Crptyopidae
- Genus: Theatops
- Species: Californiensis
- Scientific Name: Theatops californiensis
- Category: Centipede
- Size (Adult; Length): 10mm-65mm (0.39in-2.54in)
- Colors: Red, brown, orange and tan
- Descriptors: legs, pincers
What are Centipedes attracted to?
Centipedes are really drawn to places that offers them three vital things and they are;
Centipedes search for food to survive and they are amazing hunters. You would find centipedes in environments where preys are abundant and that could include human homes.
When centipedes are not out looking for bugs to eat, they are looking for corners to rest. In the wild, centipedes will look for corners under rocks, under leaf litters or inside rotting logs. In homes, they can be found in walls, in floor drains, attics or under cardboard boxes.
To survive, centipedes prefer a high-humidity environment. They could dehydrate if their area gets too dry and that could kill them. Places like basements that easily get moist, can be the perfect spot for some centipedes.
What do Centipedes feed on?
Centipedes are generally insectivores, which means they eat small insects, mites, spiders, and other arthropods. They are also nocturnal and hunt mostly at night.
One advantage that centipedes have and use in hunting is their speed. They easily respond to the movement of prey. As soon as centipedes capture their prey, they use their venom to incapacitate their kill before eating them.
Are centipedes harmful to pets or people?
Generally, people and pets should have nothing to worry about from centipedes they see. In fact, many cats and dogs will eat centipedes they catch. Despite this, it’s important to know that most centipedes use their venom on their prey.
Centipedes administer their poison through a pair of forcipules that are positioned near their heads. These weapon of pincer-like limbs can be used when they are threatened, especially when they are stepped on or picked up. But despite their venomous nature, most of them don’t have the strength to actually pierce through human skin.
The Florida blue centipedes however, are very aggressive against people who bother them. People who have handled this centipede claim they they can deliver a sting similar to bee stings. Only 3 inches in length, the Florida blue centipedes are mostly found in southeastern parts of the United States.
How can you differentiate a centipede from a millipede?
Centipedes are lengthened arthropods with numerous body segments that usually move very fast. Even though centipedes share the same Myriapoda branch of the “tree of life” as millipedes, they are structurally different.
Generally, centipedes possess a pair of legs per body segment, while millipedes have two. Furthermore, millipedes have a rounded, blunted heads that bend downward, when centipedes are structured like predators with visible eyes and mouthparts that faces forward.
Another major dissimilar is that centipedes have forcipules. This is a set of poison-injecting pincers. Millipedes however, do not eat living creatures, so they do not require pincers.
Centipede Life Cycle
After mating, female centipede lays between 10 to 60 eggs. Centipedes eggs evolve for a few months before they hatch.
Young centipedes crawl around with fewer leg pairs than adults. With each molting, they add more legs pairs and body segments until fully grown.
Unlike most arthropods, centipedes can live very long. Some species of centipedes can live to reach the age of 7. Most arthropods typically have a lifespan of a year or even less.
What do you know about centipedes? Do you think there is more about centipedes you’d like to share with us? Kindly leave your opinion in the comments below.