Currently viewing the category: "Centipedes and Millipedes"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: House Centipede food chain
Location: near Madison, WI
September 2, 2012 2:39 am
Something slithery and oddly shaped caught my eye this evening. It turned out to be a large house centipede dragging a moth across our shed wall. I thought you might want a photo for your food chain section.
Signature: Sherrán

House Centipede eats Moth

Dear Sherrán,
Your Food Chain image of a House Centipede eating a Moth is an excellent addition to our website.  We are always happy to receive photos of living House Centipedes as they are so frequently the subject of Unnecessary Carnage images.  We also like to lobby for the preservation of the somewhat frightening House Centipede within homes as they help to eliminate unwanted nocturnal foraging insects like cockroaches.  We have discovered that House Centipedes will often come to a light source at night to feast on the other insects that are attracted to the lights.

Thanks very much.   I’m delighted to be able to contribute to such a great website.
I have a strict no-kill policy at my house, so you may rest assured that no house centipedes (or other bugs) have been harmed here.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Requesting Postive ID
Location: Kenya, Rift Valley
August 20, 2012 2:38 pm
Hello, this guy actually fell from my ceiling missing my shoulder by about 5”. Its winter here in Kenya. I suspect it’s an Amazonian centipede, but what do I know?
Thanks so much,
Signature: J. Tinsman

Flag Tailed Centipede

Dear J. Tinsman,
This is a Tropical Centipede in the order Scolopendromorpha.  Beyond that, we cannot say much without doing some research except we would bet it is native to Kenya and not Amazonian.  Those terminal legs are quite impressive.  With regards to the order, according to BugGuide:  “They can bite and also pinch with their last pair of legs. Bites may cause intense pain, swelling, discoloration, numbness, and necrosis, and require medical assistance, although there are no really dangerous, deadly centipedes, and no confirmed human fatalities.”  We located an Arachnophiles forum and found a very similar looking Centipede identified as  
Alipes sp. and containing this information:  “Adult female, around 4″ long. I think this can be a Alipes grandidieri (possibly a A. g. integer) but I am not sure. Very cool species however! They can make a ratteling/hissing sound with their terminal legs almost like a rattle snake. This girl hissed at me twice when I poked her to get out in her new home.”  The German language Fatal Technology website has a similar photo, but we do not read German and we do not recognize any words that look like the country where it might have originated.  The species is called the Flag Tailed Centipede on Flickr, but again, no country of origin.  Exotic Pets indicates:  “The Fan Tailed, also known as Flag Tailed Centipede inhabits areas of Africa like Tanzania and Uganda.”  We hit the jackpot with the Exotic Pet Shop care sheet that had this information:  “The Flag tail centipede is a five inch long slate grey species with red or yellow legs, the last pair of legs are modified with flag – like appendages that as yet have an unknown purpose, and they are a semi communal species that has the ability to hiss when threatened. Unlike most other centipede species it is not as aggressive, but it still has a powerful bite.  They hail from forest regions in Western Africa where they can be found under logs and behind bark during the day, emerging at night to hunt for anything small enough to overpower, including spiders, scorpions and other centipedes.   Females guard the eggs until they hatch, at which point the young are independent and disperse immediately. The females keep the eggs clean and free from mould during the incubation and will not feed themselves until the eggs hatch.”  

Thank you so much for getting back to me, so cool!  Did you see the caterpillar I sent you a few days ago, same e-mail address?
J. Tinsman

We were away from the office when this email arrived and we have not even put a dent in all the requests that arrived during our absence.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spider from Serbia
Location: Serbia, Tara mountain.
August 13, 2012 2:34 pm
these pictures of spider were taken in Serbia, Tara mountain ( ) near Lake Zaovine.
Signature: Milosh

Harvestman scavenges dead Millipede

Hi Milosh,
You did not provide much background on this photograph, so we will speculate.  This is not a Spider.  It is a Harvestman or Daddy-Long-Legs in the Arachnid order Opiliones.  Harvestmen are scavengers that will eat dead creatures as well as plant material.  It appears the Millipede in this photo was a casualty of some accident and the Harvestman appears to be feeding upon the corpse.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

This Guy Looks Like A Biter
Location: Venice, CA
April 27, 2012 8:09 pm
Dear Bugman,
I found this half-pinkey sized friend in my parking garage. Looks like some type of centipede with nasty looking pincers. I’m not sure what type, nor have I have ever seen one quite like it around here before. I made sure he scurried over to a drain to avoid being crunched. Thanks for your help in identifying this prehistoric looking beauty!
Signature: Todd

Stone Centipede

Hi Todd,
We believe this is a Stone Centipede in the order Lithobiomorpha based on counting the legs on your individual which concurs with this description on BugGuide:  “Adults have 15 pairs of legs and 18 body segments.”  Centipedes have venom and a bite might produce a reaction. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what is this!? lol
Location: Dallas, Texas
February 28, 2012 2:19 pm
i rarely see bugs in my apartment because i live in on the 3rd floor.. nothing ever makes its way up here haha. Til I was in my daughters bedroom last night and this thing makes it way up her wall. Totally freaked me out!
Signature: Malia

House Centipede

Dear Malia,
Though it looks quite fearsome, this common House Centipede is actually a shy nocturnal hunter.  It is a beneficial creature that will help keep the Cockroach population down.  We have selected your submission as the Bug of the Month for March.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Big centipede with red legs in February in Virginia?
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
February 26, 2012 5:56 pm
My little Siamese cat reached through the blinds and knocked this leggy thing from my dining room windowsill. It does not look like a house centipede. It looks like a genuine ”it can really bite you” centipede. I pushed my cat away, grabbed a thick napkin, picked up this bug and threw it out on the sidewalk. I took some picture and have attached two of them. Is this a centipede? I have never seen one like this in Virginia.
Signature: Mary

Tropical Centipede

Dear Mary,
This submission poses some perplexing possibilities.  This is one of the Tropical Centipedes in the genus
Scolopendra, and the genus is represented on the eastern seaboard by two species documented in Florida, including the Florida Blue Centipede, Scolopendra viridis, which has a range documented as far north as North Carolina according to a map link (to on BugGuide. Most of the individuals pictured on BugGuide have blue legs, however, there is one photo on BugGuide that looks similar to your individual.  There are so many inconsistencies that we are reluctant to say for certain that this is a Florida Blue Centipede without the specimen being inspected by an expert.  Did you or someone in your household make a recent trip to a location with a warmer climate?  If so, it is possible this individual was a stowaway in the luggage, or it is possible it is an unusually colored Florida Blue Centipede in an undocumented part of its normal range, or it might be a different species that was heretofore unknown in Virginia, and quite possibly an entirely new species.  Alas, it seems we have more questions and answers.  This sighting would probably have been of interest to your local natural history museum.

Aha! Thank you!
I  think I  know the answer now.
In late December, my husband ordered an anniversary gift for me.
It was finally shipped out on February 14, and arrived at our house on February 16.
The large box contained a beautiful framed painting by the Hawaiian artist, Leohone.
It was shipped out by FedEX  from……..Honolulu, Hawaii.
The cat did not find this bug hanging out on the Windowsill until February 26, so that means it must have been here for 10 days (and no one noticed).
If this is a Hawaiian centipede, it must be a pretty hearty bug to travel so far and then live 10 days in cold Virginia with nothing to eat.
It was still full of fiery fight and energy!
Good thing that I saw it before  the cat had enough time to really “play” with it.

Bingo.  This looks like a good match on The Firefly Forest website.

I just looked at the link that you sent me.
That’s IT!   You found it!
I have been looking all over the internet trying to find  a centipede that resembled it.
At first, I didn’t even  make the connection.
But, now I know it was most definitely a stowaway in the picture box that was shipped to me FedEX….from Honolulu, Hawaii.
This means the big centipede was wandering around  in my house for 10 days before our cat noticed it.
In spite of the fact that it probably had nothing to eat since it left Hawaii, it was still filled with fiery energy.
As one of my friends remarked……it resembles a “mini-dragon.”
I am so glad I was able to pick it up off the floor and get it out of the house before my cat had a chance to really “play” with it.
Especially after reading the article that you sent me, I know my cat would have lost any game with this particular centipede.
I regretfully admit that I felt compelled to kill the poor misplaced bug.
Assuredly, the people in Hawaii who accidentally shipped it here don’t want it back.
And I couldn’t  leave it wandering around outside. It simply doesn’t belong here.
Don’t want somebody’s unsuspecting pet to get hurt.
Sigh. The colder weather would have probably killed it anyway.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination