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What on earth is THAT?

July 2, 2018

This is the infamous Scutigera coleoptrata – one of several species commonly known as the house centipede, or The Leggy Boi(s)

 

Firstly, no need to be scared.
They give me the willies, but actually bites are very uncommon, and bites are no more than a reddish lump, like a mosquito.

First interesting fact, as they do not administer venom through their mandibles (using their forcipules instead), this means strictly speaking they sting rather than bite.

Next thing, is yes, they have a lot of legs, and centipedes means 100 legs, but this chappy has “only” 15 pairs of legs. 

It also has two very long antenna on its head and two long appendages on it’s rear-end. It is very difficult to know which way it is facing, this means it has developed automimicry in that its tail-like hind legs present the appearance of antennae

They originated in the Mediterranean region, and the species has spread to other parts of the world, where it often lives in human houses and huts. 

It is really, really fast…..The delicate legs enable it to reach surprising speeds of up to 0.4 meters per second running across floors, up walls and along ceilings.

 

It is actually a very useful animal to have around the house, as it is an insectivore, meaning it kills and eats other pests in the house, such as insects.

 

They are mostly nocturnal hunters. Despite their developed eyes, they seem to rely mostly on their antennae when hunting. Their antennae are sensitive to both smells and tactile information. 

 

They can use both their mandibles and their legs for holding prey, and quite uniquely they use a technique described as “lassoing" which you can see in this picture, where its legs are holding another centipede that it is eating.

 

 

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