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House Centipede (juvenile)
Scutigera coleoptrata
Copyright David Seibel, 2009 (#5006) | Send Comment

Camera: Canon EOS 20D
Exposure: 1/200 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200
Lens: Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Date: September 27, 2009
Location: Lenexa, Johnson County, Kansas, USA

Description: This is a baby, only about 1/4 inch long, but the number of legs indicates that it has already molted at least three times (they hatch with only 4 pairs of legs and add more with each molt). Fully mature adults can be 8 times this length. They have 3 prominent dark stripes down the back and 15 pairs of long, delicate legs with dark bands but none of the purplish color seen here. This fascinating species is native to the Mediterranean region but has spread through much of Europe and Asia as well as North and South America. Typical of centipedes, it uses venom to disable its prey, but Scutigera is harmless to humans, eating many kinds of household arthropods that it can chase down at impressively high speeds. Its hind legs are even longer than the others and are often lifted like antennae when at rest, making it surprisingly difficult to tell which end of the animal is the front. This image is a blended composite of 6 frames, each focused on a slightly different plane.