Insect Wiki

Lithobius forficatus.jpg


Chilopoda is the main class of centipedes. A centipede is a myriapod that has usually more than 26 legs. The largest species have nearly 64 pairs of legs, shich is contrary to the name. There are 4 orders and 22 families of centipedes.


A centipede can have anywhere from 26-64 pairs of appendages. A centipede's body is worm-like, covered with a burnished exoskeleton, they generally have a flattened body with two large fangs. And it may look like a centipede has two heads as a trick to confuse predators. Their antennae are sometimes barely noticable being around 4-5 cm.


Centipedes are commonly flexible and fast, making it hard to kill or capture one. Most species will also attack with venom, that will sting if you are touched. The venom is injected into the prey through their large fangs while their pointed appendages provide a hold on to their prey or any attacker. Some may use their size as a defense being so minute and barely noticable while the larger species are equipped with deadly toxins.


Centipedes are nocturnal predacious animals, thus meaning that they hunt mainly at night. All centipedes are predacious. They sometimes even use their venom to kill much larger prey. Their diet commonly includes smaller insects such as orthropterans, smaller centipedes and sometimes even rats and reptiles.

Life Cycle[]

The male centipedes drop sperm on the ground and the female eventually picks it up. The eggs are often laid underground in large clutches.


Centipedes mainly live worldwide, but mainly live in temperate locations and tropical and sub-tropical regions. Being most common in temperate and torrid zone generally larger species can be found inhabiting secluded islands and tropical rainforests.


Five orders of centipedes exist in the world from prehistoric times to current day.


The order Geophilida is an order of centipedes that are usually straw color to brown and are long and slender, usually made up of 35 segments.


Lithobiida is an order of centipedes that are usually red-brown with a flat body and usually have around 15 pairs of legs.


Centipedes in the order Scolopendromorpha are usually brightly coloured with dark stripes or bands. They usually have 21 or 23 pairs of legs.


Scutigerid centipedes are fairly short that are usually brown with some pale markings. These centipedes have 30 legs that are very long.


Containing only two extant species, Craterostigmus crabilli and Craterostigmus tasmanianus. They are restricted to New Zealand and the Tasman area.