Subject: Huge centipede
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
April 25, 2014 1:07 pm
What type of centipede is this? I imagine there are several varieties, depending on geographic location. Thought I would send a photo across.
Location: slightly away from main city. I live in a semi-wild area, so the insects are often larger and more interesting. For example, have found beetles the size of my thumb (I have large hands), in the past, and seen the odd firefly, something one never sees in the city.
I agree, extermination is not the best idea, for the most part. But I confess I find centipedes a little freaky. Am given to understand that the bite is quite nasty. I also have a cat and would rather he not mess about with an insect that could hurt him.
Despite being found in some decidedly untropical locations like Oklahoma, Centipedes in the order Scolopendromorpha, like your individual, are commonly called Tropical Centipedes according to BugGuide. Yours is a little one, and some individuals found in jungle locations are considerably larger. BugGuide also states: “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.” Here is one of the more amusing letters from our archives.
We hope one of our more knowledgeable readers can supply a species name. Much as we are trying to understand your fears and your knowledge of the painfulness and side effects of the bite, we feel we need to tag your letter as unnecessary carnage. Centipedes play a very important role in the food chain and we hate seeing them exterminated because an encounter between a human and a tropical centipede can result in some unpleasantness.