House Centipede: One scary looking dude!

By Chris Williams on January 29, 2014.
House centipede scutigera coleoptrata

Aside from a beautiful butterfly or a ‘handsome’ looking beetle, the ‘phylogenetic group the insects belong to, the arthropods, do contain some pretty creepy looking creatures.  Lobster, crab, and shrimp maybe delicacies to some (I just call them ‘bugs’!), but you’d have to admit they certainly won’t win too many prizes for beauty.

Scorpions, with their massive pincers and poisonous stinger are fearsome looking creatures and surely, the spiders epitomize the definition of creepy looking animals. I think that group may sill rank number one in terms of most universally feared creatures on planet Earth.

Okay it’s time for my vote and you guys are so smart that you called it!  Yes, I think the house centipede is one scary looking dude! I don’t know, maybe it is because of all those legs, or maybe it’s the fangs!  But maybe it has to do with it being seriously fast!  I’ll never forget the time I was in lab for my invertebrate zoology class and the professor had one of these for us students to check out. Somehow it managed to escape the container and was racing right for us!

We all just dove away from the bench trying to get away from it!  Just for fun I looked up how fast the house centipede can run and sure enough the thing can travel up to 1.3 feet/second which would equate to a speed of 41 miles per hour! Appearances aside, the house centipede (Scutigera Coleoptrata) is actually quite beneficial.  I know you must be thinking at this moment, if it is in my house, it is not beneficial!  Actually, the house centipede is an efficient predator and consumes a wide variety of insects like silverfish, carpet beetle larvae, cockroaches, and even bedbugs.  They have no problem either attacking spiders and I’ll take a wild guess that pill bugs might occasionally find themselves serving as dinner also.  They use venom to subdue their prey and that makes them really cool in my book.

Of course they’ll bite you if you decide you’d like to try and pick them up so its’ probably a good idea to avoid that!  So all in all, the house centipede is still a scary looking dude, but a ‘good chap’ indeed!

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