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House centipede

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House centipede
Scutigera coleoptrata.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Scutigera coleoptrata

The House Centipede is a species of centipede known by the scientific name Scutigera coleoptrata . It lives in dark and damp places, and gets into peoples houses through cracks and openings. It is a predatory arthropod that eats insects and can be useful for is getting rid of cockroaches and their eggs. They paralyze their victim by injecting venom into them, and has few predators except for house pets and other centipedes.

Body Design

Close up picture of the body of the House Centipede.

The House Centipede has 15 pairs of walking legs (30 legs, one per segment), although the name centipede means 100 legs. House centipedes have longer legs than related species. They have two antennae and two rear legs on the posterior side. This could make the centipede to seem two to three times bigger than it really is (the leg length makes it's look wider).[1]

The body of the centipede goes from a dark to light pattern. Most centipedes are black and yellow, and could have white coloring. The centipedes body is striped lengthwise. You can also identify a house centipede by the colors black, brown, ivory, yellow and white. They have large compound eyes that are connected to the head. Males usually have longer antennae than the females. Adults could grow up to be 34 to 35mm.[2]

Life Cycle

This is the House Centipede with its eggs.

Females lay their eggs in different places like small hole in the soil. They leave the young behind to descend themselves. These Centipedes go through incomplete metamorphosis. [3]Incomplete metamorphosis is the lifecycle where an arthropod goes from egg to larva and then directly to adult without a pupa stage. The female can lay eggs anywhere from 35 to 100. Their legs start at around four and go up to about 15.[4]

They molt, this adds more legs to their body when becoming an adult. The molting process happens during the larva stages.[5]During the larva stage, it's called a nymph. After the the nymph stage comes adult. Adult centipedes can live up to six years.[6]


One of the regions where the House Centipede lives.

House centipedes can be found in dark, damp places. Though it's rare, you can still find them outside under wood piles, leaf litter, and boards. If you have House centipedes you're most likely to see them at night, and in closets, cracks, basements and wherever its dark and damp. They usually get into a house by going through the cracks and openings in the foundation, or through walls and windows. [7]

They eat different kinds of arthropods. They eat silver fish, fire brats, carpet beetle larvae, cockroaches, spiders, etc. To get food they have to Inject venom in their prey. They usually bite once, and it doesn't cause more than temporary pain.[8]House centipede predators are dogs and cats. [9] They are native to the Mediterranean region and have been brought to many parts of the world.[10]

Other Facts

Centipedes use fangs when they grip onto their prey, while they inject poison in their victim, to kill it. House Centipedes also react to pheromones and sound signals. Centipedes are carnivorous. Male House Centipedes tap the female to see if they will respond to them as a mate. Scutigera has a exoskeleton made of chitin.[11] House Centipedes, rather than facing an enemy or danger head on, they usually run away. Rather than getting rid of House Centipedes, you could keep them. They feed on insects, as well as the eggs of cockroaches.[12]


  1. House Centipede HGTV. Web. accessed January 14, 2014 Author Unknown.
  2. Writer, Staff. House Centipede - (Scutigera coleoptrata) Insect Web. last-updated 11/5/2013 .
  3. Trudeau, Emily. Life Cycle of a Centipede ehow. Web. accessed January 14,2014.
  4. Bartlestt, Troy. Species Scutigera coleoptrata - House Centipede Publishing-site-name. Web. Last updated 12 April, 2011 .
  5. Trudeau, Emily. Life Cycle of a Centipede ehow. Web. accessed January 14,2014.
  6. Hadley, Debbie. Centipedes, Class Chilopoda Web. accessed January 14.2014.
  7. . House Centipede HGTV. Web. accessed January 14, 2014.
  8. Jacobs, Steve. House Centipedes Penn State University. Web. accessed January 14,2014.
  9. . House Centipede – Scutigera Coleoptrata Jon's Home Blog. Web. Date-of-publication May 14th, 2009 .
  10. Evans, Arthur V. HOUSE CENTIPEDES ON THE MOVE WHAT'S BUGGING YOU?. Web. accessed January 14, 2014.
  11. .Scutigera coleoptrata Encyclopedia of Life. Web. accessed January 14, 2014.
  12. Hadley, Debbie. Centipedes, Class Chilopoda Web. accessed January 14, 2014.