I had to post this photo my sister took of a huge centipede she found. Oh My Word!! It has a long tail and this one was about 10cm long without the tail. The legs, for me, are the creepy part! I get goosebumps just looking at it!
Centipedes (from Latin prefix centi-, “hundred”, and pes, pedere, “foot”) are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda. They are elongated metameric animals with one pair of legs per body segment. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs from under 20 to over 300. Centipedes have an odd number of pairs of legs, e.g. 15 or 17 pairs of legs (30 or 34 legs) but never 16 pairs (32 legs).
A key trait uniting this group is a pair of venom claws or forcipules formed from a modified first appendage. Centipedes are predominantly carnivorous.
Centipedes normally have a drab coloration combining shades of brown and red. Cave-dwelling and subterranean species may lack pigmentation and many tropical ones have bright colours. Size can range from a few millimetres to about 30cm. Centipedes can be found in a wide variety of environments. Worldwide, there are estimated to be 8,000 species of centipede, of which 3,000 have been described.
Centipedes have a wide geographical range, reaching beyond the Arctic Circle. Centipedes are found in an array of terrestrial habitats from tropical rainforests to deserts. Within these habitats, centipedes require a moist micro-habitat because they lack the waxy cuticle of insects and arachnids, and so lose water rapidly through the skin.
Accordingly, they are found in soil and leaf litter, under stones and dead wood, and inside logs. Centipedes are among the largest terrestrial invertebrate predators and often contribute significantly to the invertebrate predatory biomass in terrestrial ecosystems.
Some species of centipede can be hazardous to humans because of their bite. Although a bite to an adult human is usually very painful and may cause severe swelling, chills, fever, and weakness, it is unlikely to be fatal. Bites can be dangerous to small children and those with allergies to bee stings. The bite of larger centipedes can induce anaphylactic shock in such people. Smaller centipedes usually do not puncture human skin. Even nonvenomous centipedes are considered frightening by humans due to their dozens of legs moving at the same time and their tendency to dart swiftly out of the darkness towards one’s feet.
Anything creepy in your garden?