Currently viewing the category: "Centipedes and Millipedes"

What is this bug?!?!?!?
Dear What’s That Bug:
I found this bug in my bathroom. Is it some sort of centipede or millipede? I couldn’t find a picture of it on the web. I tried to kill it but it wouldn’t die. Mean, huh? Its legs moved in waves. We live in Iowa. I have never seen this before – do you know?
Thanks for being on the web – great site!
Brea Lewis
Sioux City, Iowa

Hi Brea,
You have a centipede. They do contain poison glands and some species, especially the large centipedes from Texas and Oklahoma, can give a painful bite.

Apologies for the bad photo; I used my camera/phone. The insect is brown with darker brown stripes length-wise down its body. Its legs are striped width-wise. He’s soft-bodied (like a caterpillar), and quite clean, cleaning each leg meticulously. Not knowing what to feed it, I gave it strips of fresh carrot, and a few pieces of dry dog food. It has 14 pair of legs, 2 antennae in the front, and 2 antennae-like in the rear. His legs move in a wave-type motion. It has a pair of claws in the front, 2 eyes, and a ’round’ face (for lack of a better description). I searched different sites trying to ID this creature. I was unsuccessful. Would you assist me in identifying this great insect?
Thank you!

Hi Judy,
Your House Centipede pet is not an insect. Try feeding it live insects, like flies. You can even buy crickets from the pet store as food. They will not bit. Most people who send us letters concerning House Centipedes are terrified. Your letter was refreshing.

What in the world is this thing?
Hello! I hope you’ll be able to help me out here. A friend of mine took a picture of this…insect in her basement, and from the description and the photograph (link included in this message) it looks to be some sort of caterpillar. Of course, that is a maybe. I’ve never seen anything like it before and neither has anyone else I’ve questioned.
Location: Minnesota (St. Paul area)
Thank you for your time and patience.
Michelle y. Richardson

Hi Michelle,
Sorry for the delay. I am very amused that your friend named her poor dead House Centipede “Satan” which might explain why it is dead. They are harmless, though they often startle people when they run across a floor at night. They are very fast, but will kill and eat spiders and cockroaches and other undesireable household intruders.

I live in southcentral Kentucky and have found these occasionally when planting something. Recently, I have found lots of dead ones at the bottom of the pool. Can you tell me what they are? I have attached a couple of pictures. Thanks.

We just got the following correction from Joe:
(06/23/2005) Isopod or myriapod?
Great website! The last time I was looking at a photo one of your readers sent ( More Isopods(07/07/2004) and you identified it as a type of terrestrial isopod. However, as far as I know all isopods (superclass Crustacea) have only 7 pairs of legs. The photo shows an arthropod with two pairs of legs per body segment and at least 13 body segments, besides the head and abdomen. I am inclined to believe this is of the superclass Myriapoda, not Crustacea; specifically Class Diploda, Super Order Pentazonia. I am unsure of the order (could be Glomerida or Sphaeriotheriida (both commonly known to roll up in a ball), otherwise known as pill millipedes. I certainly don’t consider myself an expert, so perhaps you can clarify? Thank you, Joe

Unknown Bug on Lesvos Greece
I was wondering if you could help me identify a bug. Attached is a
picture of an unknown bug I found on my mothers farm in Greece.
Many thanks

Hi Pippa,
Your Lesvian Millipedes are surely beautiful. They can be distinguished from centipedes as millipedes have two legs per segment. Sorry, we am not familiar with all the exotica of Lesvos, and do not have a species name, but we will continue to research the matter.

Update: (01/20/2008) Greece millipedes
While scrolling through sites tonight, I came across yours, and I can answer many of the questions, though it is late. Anyhow, there are two pictures of a lovely black millipede fro, Greece with bright yellow spots down the midbody and yellow-spottwed margins. This is a species of Melaphe (order Polydesmida: family Xystodesmidae).
Rowland Shelley ,North Carolina State Museum of Natural Science

Long creepy bug
Hi, this may sound like a very weird story. I know you get emails like this all the time and it turns out being this same thing but i have a question about the house centipede. Ok so heres my story. I walked into the bathroom one night to do my business (my bathroom has linolium and carpet because it is also my laundry room if that matters). Well i walk in to go to the bathroom and i turn on the light when just is a get to the toilet i see this bug scurry across the floor. It was well i guess a light yellow or clearish color and i believe it had two very thin brown "racing stripes" down his back. Well he scurried across the floor and ran around a bag of papers sitting there. Well i was so scared that after i went to the bathroom, i stood on the toilet to wash my hands. But you may be thinking to yourself, yeah its just another house centipede but i looked at the photos and the one i saw the legs weren’ t as long as the one photo but it did have feelers in the front but there wasn’t just a couple legs like the photo, no, there was ALOT. I am so deathly afraid to go back in the bathroom so i would be really thankfully if you can just let me know that its not poisonous or anything bad, i mean my dad’s work boots are now locked in the bathroom with this creature!
Thanks a Bunch,
Bathroom Critter

Dear Critter,
Though they are startling, House Centipedes are harmless. When they are running, they appear to have many more legs than they actually possess.