What the heck is this?
Hi there – after some screaming kids got my attention this morning I captured this into a jar and found your site via Google. Centipede of some sort I suspect – we seem to have a number of these lately – maybe the cooler weather is pushing them inside? Live in Springfield, Missouri – as you can see this puppy is about 2 to 2 3/4 inches long. The photo shows scale tick marks with overlay I did in Photoshop. The picture was taken looking into a gerber baby food jar with macro mode on camera – kinda unique. If you place a bic pen between its tail – at least I think it’s the tail, it will snap the pincers shut and you can feel the clamping force it exerts. I’m not brave enough to try with my finger. So, what is it, besides a centipede and is it harmful at all? thank you – great site – we appreciate your efforts.
BugGuide just lists this as a tropical centipede in the Family Scolopendridae. Their example is from Georgia which is only slightly more tropical than Missouri. I grew up with similar ones in Ohio, but not as large. Centipedes do have poison, and it will cause discomfort. Sorry we can’t be more specific.
Update: (01/20/2008) Two Centipedes
Regarding centipedes, that from Springfield MO is Theatops spinicaudus Wood, 1871 (order Scolopendromorpha: family Cryptopidae: subfamily Plutoniuminae).
North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences