House Centipede


houseCentipede.jpg

 

Common Name
House Centipede
Category
Centipedes & Millipedes
ScientificName
Scutigera coleoptera
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Chilopoda
Order
Scutigeramorpha
Family
Scutigeridae
Genus
Scutigera
Species
coleoptera
SubSpecies
 

 

Description
Elongated body; up to 15 pairs of long, thin legs (older centipedes have more legs); long, threadlike antennae; compound eyes; translucent gray appearance with dark stripes on body and legs
Size
0.2 - 1.2 in. (5 mm-30 mm) long
Ecological Role
Adult and nymph house centipedes are very common in homes, caves, natural crevices, and other cool, moist habitats. These fast-moving centipedes are active predators that hunt for crickets, spiders, pillbugs, and other small creatures that live in dark, secluded areas. Like all centipedes, house centipedes have venomous fangs (actually modified front legs) that they use to paralyze their prey upon capture. House centipedes are sometimes eaten by larger arthropod predators, such as wolf spiders and other centipedes, and also by insectivorous mammals, such as the short-tailed shrew.
Fun Facts
  • Most centipede species are flattened, slow-moving predators that live in soil or under bark. The house centipede, though, is one of the fastest arthropods around, using its speed and agility to capture crickets, cockroaches, and other fast-moving creatures.
  • Because of its speed, the house centipede is often alarming to homeowners. The house centipede does have a small amount of venom, but bites are very rare and not severe except to highly allergic individuals.
  • It is believed that the house centipede originated in the southern part of North America, but has gradually moved north where climate-controlled buildings allow it to live and reproduce year-round.
  • House centipedes are sometimes called "hairy Marys" because their long legs look like strands of hair.
Food
Small terrestrial arthropods, including crickets, cockroaches, spiders, millipedes, and pillbugs
Cover
 
Nest
 
Breeding
 
Eggs
 
Habitat
Indoors in dark, cool, moist areas; also found in caves, cliff crevices, and similar habitats
Kentucky Distribution
Statewide
Life Cycle
Three developmental stages: egg, nymph, and adult (simple, or incomplete, metamorphosis); females lay eggs in soil or other protected habitats; upon hatching, nymphs have 4 pairs of legs and increase the number of legs with each molt, until reaching adulthood in 2 -3 years with 15 pairs of legs
Life Span
 
Life Stage
 
Reproduction
 
Seasonal Changes
 
Spawning
 
Status
Abundant
Uses
 
Voice
 
Young
 
What We Can Do
Although house centipedes are often encountered in homes, they pose no significant threat to humans, and can actually help us by reducing the numbers of cockroaches and other pests. Keep this in mind when deciding upon a pest control program for your home.
Host
 
Diagnosis and Control
 
Interesting Facts
 
Contributed By
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
Website
http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/casefile/relatives/centipedes/centipede.htm