Friday, July 06, 2007

Arthropod Friday: Common House Centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata

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This is a common house centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata. I saw several of them and took this picture 2 days ago while cleaning out a storage area under my house. They were very fast moving and made me jump when I first saw them. Animals like this don't usually bother me too much, but I was already in a heightened state of creepiness because of all the brown recluse spiders I had been seeing. After the photo session, I killed a few of them but a couple got away. I began to regret that a little after reading about their feeding habits, because they eat alot of household pests such as spiders, bedbugs, termites, cockroaches, silverfish. I have never seen one of these in my living space, so I am not too worried about them bothering us. Apparently they can bite humans and sometimes deliver some venom but the bite is about equivalent to a honey bee sting.

The house centipede, when fully grown, has an average of 17 pairs of long legs, which allow them to run faster than other centipedes, up walls and along ceilings and floors. Young centipedes have four pairs of legs when they are hatched. They gain a new pair with the first molting, and two pairs with every subsequent molting.Its body is yellowish grey or brown and has three dark-colored dorsal stripes running down its length; the legs also have dark stripes. They also have well developed faceted eyes unlike most other centipedes.

Sources: Wikipedia, ADW

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Blogger Dope On The Slope said...

Classic 'pede pose and good summary of their biology.

I've taken a few shots of these guys myself. The posts have been very popular for some reason.

I guess these critters surprise a lot of homeowners when they see them for the first time.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scutigeras are fantastic animals. The fastest "insect" (not exactly an insect) on legs in the world, it is extremely strong and with the help of the venim will get you rid of even large croakroaches, spiders, termits, bedbugs, even large bugs like wasps (they catch them in the night by climbing walls and jumping on them). Usually when you see many scutigeras it's a sign that they have lots of pests to eat. After they ravage everything they will go away by themselves.

The animal is also quite intelligent, see and hear like little other insects can, and is aware quite quickly of human presence and thus will do everything to hide from us. Biting is the least of thing they are interested in, they are way too scared in the first place, but the bite some says is even less than a wasp, and that is only if the venim gets in.

The reason I found this post and responded is that I'm trying to know if scutigeras eat brown recluse, considering the amount of venim those spiders contain. It would be fantastic if they eat brown recluse (or black widow).

Googling both house centipede and brown recluse led me here.



7:17 PM  
Blogger harold said...

My daughter (8 yrs) has experienced a swelling in her ankle and mild to severe pain for the last week accompanied by an intermittent 100+/- temp. For the week previous she had complained of a sore spot above her ankle that felt hot to the touch and she had an on and off mild headache. There is a feeling of fatigue and the pain is in both feet but worse in one. On the back of her ankle there is a raised bump with what looks like 2 puncture marks from a fanged critter. She had blood work done and they ruled out Lyme, Parvo and rheumatoid arthritis. They are recomending we see a rheumatoligist for arthritis however she has always been very sensitive to bug bites, do you think her symptoms could be indicative of a house centipede or brown recluse bite? When you google her symptoms the possible answers are very dire so we are hoping for something simple like a reaction to a bite.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Harold:

It sounds like a spider bite to me... Has the doctor said anything about whether it could be a spider bite? From what I've read, the centipede bite shouldn't cause that type of reaction. I read alot about spider bites when my nephew had one that made him sick and it sounds very similar. I would definitely watch the bite to ensure it doesn't get worse and make sure the doctor takes a look at the bite.

Just my 2 cents=)

12:26 PM  

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