Centipedes Facts

Centipedes Facts
Centipedes are small invertebrates that belong to the group of arthropods. There are around 8000 species of centipedes that can be found all over the world, including the areas near the Arctic Circle. Centipedes usually inhabit forests, tropical rainforests, prairies and savannas. They prefer dark and moist places. Centipedes spend most of their life hidden under the rocks, leaves or inside the rotting wood. Some centipedes inhabit urban areas and live close to humans. Number of centipedes in the wild is large and stable. They are not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Centipedes Facts:
Centipedes have long, segmented body. Depending on the species, centipede can reach from 0.1 to 11 inches in length.
Body of centipede is covered with flexible shell that can be white, yellow, orange, red, brown or black in color. Most species of centipedes are reddish brown.
Name "centipede" originates from Latin language and it means "hundred legs". Despite its name, most species of centipedes possess less than hundred legs. They usually have 15 to 30 pairs of legs.
Centipedes and millipedes look alike. They can be differentiated by arrangement of legs on their bodies. Centipedes have one pair of legs on each body segment, while millipedes have two pairs.
Legs on the first body segment are not used for walking. They are modified into venomous fangs which hold the prey and deliver poison into the victim.
Centipedes can bite people in self defense. Luckily, these injuries are rarely fatal.
Centipedes are predators which actively seek and kill their prey. They usually consume insects, spiders, worms and mollusks. Large species of centipedes eat frogs, small birds and bats.
Centipedes are nocturnal creatures (active during the night).
Unlike most arthropods, body of centipedes is not covered with waxy layer which prevents loss of bodily water. That's why centipedes avoid sunny areas and spend their life in dark and moist places.
Main predators of centipedes are birds, snakes, frogs and mammals such as mongooses, mice and shrews.
Centipedes can detach some of the legs to escape from the predators. Missing legs will re-grow (regenerate) during the next molting season.
Mating season usually takes place during the spring and summer. Females lay up to 60 eggs in the holes in the ground. Incubation period lasts from one to couple of months. Some species of centipedes exhibit parental care (they protect eggs and young animals from predators).
Newly hatched centipedes look like miniature adults. Young centipedes grow periodically during the process known as molting (shedding of skin).
Depending on the species, centipedes can survive from 2 to 5 years in the wild.
Centipedes are one of the oldest groups of animals in the world. They appeared on the Earth 430 million years ago.

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