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Centipede Facts

An Interesting Array of Centipede Facts

Whether you are a biology student, a curious child, or a pest-hating homeowner with an ax to grind, this article will provide you with a variety of centipede facts that you may not be aware of. Most people know surprisingly little about these creepy crawlers, even going as far as classifying them as common insects.

These creatures are largely misunderstood, rarely respected, and generally given a much worse reputation than they actually deserve. Read further to expand your knowledge of centipede facts and trivia to find out what the typical life of these speedy little arthropods is like.

Animal Classification and Numbers

Centipedes are multi-legged creatures that belong in the Arthropoda phylum, a subset classification of animals. They are further placed into the subphylum Myriapoda and the class Chilopoda. This class has 5 orders and approximately 14 families. They are not, by any stretch of the imagination, insects.

While only 3,000 specific species of centipedes have been confirmed and recorded, it has been estimated by many experts and biologists that there are actually upwards of 8,000 different species of centipedes in the world, not counting older varieties that are now extinct.

See Related: Vietnamese Centipede

Physical Descriptions

Centipedes are known for their numerous legs that may number between 15 and up to 181 pairs, although they always have an odd number of legs. Some people often confuse centipedes with millipedes, and therefore believe they have many more legs than that, even. The front pair of legs act as pincers and can inflict very painful and venomous bites on anyone unfortunate enough to incur their anger.

They have long, flattened bodies that are segmented and consist solely of a trunk and the head which may be rounded or flat like the body. These bodies can come in different colors, ranging from black to red, and often allow them to blend in to their surroundings.

Surprisingly, centipede eyes can be located in different areas, or not at all depending on species. The majority of centipedes house their eyes at the base of their antennae, but some have no eyes at all, and instead have other sensory organs that can be located on their back legs or by the antennae.

Behaviors and Habitats

Many interesting centipede facts involve their unusual behaviors and habitats. For instance, centipedes are nocturnal creatures, preferring to be out and about at night. During the day they can be found napping under damp leaves or under dark debris. Even more intriguing than this is the fact that these creatures are almost globally known. They can be found on every single continent, except for Antarctica. They do best in climates that are temperate or tropical, enjoying damp environments with a steady amount of heat.

They are not particularly aggressive creatures, and will generally try to avoid confrontation with humans and larger creatures, although they are carnivorous and like to hunt younger and smaller prey.

They live alone, really only coming together with other centipedes for procreation purposes. They keep to themselves and do not socialize with other arthropods either, unless they are hunting them.

Dangers from Bites

Many people believe that centipede bites are incredibly poisonous and painful, rivaling that of scorpions and black widow spiders. This is not actually the case, though. First, centipedes prefer to be left alone and will generally not bother humans to begin with. On the off chance that a sting does occur, the likelihood for extreme danger is minimal. The sting can be very painful, yes, but unless the victim has an allergic reaction to the venom they should be just fine.

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