Stone Centipede – Order Lithobiomorpha

Stone Centipede – Order Lithobiomorpha
Live adult stone centipedes photographed at DuPage County, Illinois, USA. Size: 20mm
Some exotic, large centipedes will bite defensively, and should not be handled. This is not one of them.
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Stone Centipede

Centipedes are some of the oldest terrestrial animals, and some of the very first creatures to crawl from the sea onto the land were probably very similar in appearance to modern centipedes. All centipedes are nocturnal predators which live by actively hunting down insects and other small animals. They are found mostly in tropical forests, but have also established themselves in temperate forests, deserts, and human habitations. Commonly called "hundred-leggers", most centipedes have between 15 and 30 pairs of legs, one pair on each body segment. Some of the larger centipedes can live longer than 10 years. [4]

Centipedes and millipedes most often live outdoors in moist places such as leaf litter, or under rocks and decaying wood. The house centipede, however, lives indoors, especially in damp basements, bathrooms, or crawl and other excavated spaces under a house. They can move very quickly on their many legs, but cause no damage to structures or their contents. They do not infest food or "eat books" as is commonly believed.
Stone Centipede

Unlike most other centipedes, house centipedes and their close relatives have well-developed compound eyes which are sensitive to ultraviolet as well as visible light. S. coleoptrata has developed automimicry in that its hind legs present the appearance of antennae, and there are false eyes on its rump. House centipedes feed on spiders, bedbugs, termites, cockroaches, silverfish, ants and other household arthropods. They administer venom through legs modified as fangs. [2]

Some of the plates (tergites) covering the body segments fused and became smaller during the evolution. The resulting mismatch between body segments and tergites is the cause for this centipede's relatively inflexible body. [4] The two tergites just behind this centipede's head are fused. The 2 evolved, modified legs just under the antennae function as poison fangs, or forcipules

Stone Centipede


  1., Scutigera coleoptrata
  2. William F. Lyon, Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet HYG-2067-94
  3. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Millipede
  4. Lenny Flank, Lenny Flank’s Herp Page, Keeping and Raising Millipedes and Centipedes

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