Description: Centipedes can easily be identified by counting the number of pairs of legs arising from most body segments. Centipedes bear one pair of legs per segment, with the first pair of legs being modified into fangs. Centipedes are generally flattened and have a pair of well developed antennae on the head. Some centipedes, such as the house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata Linnaeus), have long legs and are capable of running rapidly. The largest centipedes, Scolopendra spp. (Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae) may grow to be about 6 inches long.
Habitat, Food Source(s), Damage: Mouthparts are for chewing. Centipedes prefer to live in moist habitats and during the day occur underneath rocks, logs and other objects in contact with the ground. They are active at night. Centipedes feed on insects and spiders. They kill by grasping prey with their powerful fangs and injecting venom. The fangs are located on the body segment just behind the head.
Pest Status: Centipedes exist mainly as nuisance pests. They have poison glands connected to a pair of jaws and will bite if provoked. The bite is usually not medically threatening, except to small children and individuals allergic to venoms. The larger species have more painful bites.Share