Currently viewing the category: "Centipedes and Millipedes"

Subject: What’s the Bug
Location: South Dennis, MA 02660
December 10, 2016 10:25 am
Found this in between the sheets of a newly opened roll of paper towels. Looks like a soil centipede to me but I’m not 100% certain. It’s about 2 1/2 to 3 inches long and the color in the photo is accurate to the bug in real life. Any thoughts? Thank you,
Signature: Mario John

Soil Centipede

Soil Centipede

Dear Mario John,
We agree that this is most likely a Soil Centipede.  You can read more about the Order Geophilomorpha on BugGuide and in our archives.

Subject: Unusual bug
Location: Washington DC
November 15, 2016 4:45 pm
Never seen one like this before. Friend who lives in Washington DC emailed it to me to identify. Help. No idea
Signature: Stumped

House Centipede

House Centipede

Dear Stumped,
The House Centipede is commonly found indoors where it will help keep the place free of unwanted creatures like Cockroaches.

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Araluen NSW 2622
September 30, 2016 2:52 am
Please can you help me identify this centipede
Signature: Glen

Giant Centipede: Scolopendra laeta

Centipede: Scolopendra laeta

Dear Glen,
The longitudinal striping on your Centipede is quite distinctive, and the closest match we could locate is
Scolopendra laeta which we found on FlickR, and the individual depicted also has blue legs.  We then found additional images on Arachoboards, and it seems the species has variable coloration, but the longitudinal striping seems a constant.

Subject: Identify my bug please; terrifying my children and guests
Location: New Bedford, Massachusetts
September 3, 2016 8:57 pm
Dear Bugman,
I first encountered this bug when I was 6 years old happily coloring on my floor and this monstrous thing ran across my coloring book and I never touched it again. Now I live in an apartment and they’ve shown up frequently these past couple days. One gave me a heart attack in my bedroom, another ran across the kitchen counter sending my child running and screaming, and a recent one I was able to get a picture of was about 30 minutes ago in my bathroom. It is September; almost fall here in Massachusetts and about 70 degrees outside. The weather has been cooling down with a lot of rain and humidity this weekend. These bugs run super fast. They usually hang out in the dark; I’m assuming as whenever a light flickers in they run for cover elsewhere never to be seen again. They have a Buber of legs and vary from very tiny to about 4 inches long. Some are a light brown while others have a striped pattern. I’m getting shivers describing this; these are my worst bug fear. Please please PLEASE help me identify these guys; I would really appreciate. Thank you,
Signature: Terrified Mother and Cade

House Centipede

House Centipede

Dear Terrified Mother and Cade,
This is a House Centipede, and we generally refer to them as harmless, though we concede that a large individual might bite a human, but those incidents seem to be very rare.  House Centipedes are nocturnal predators that will feast upon Cockroaches and other undesirable insects and arthropods.  They are quite startling when they run quickly across the room.  We hope you realize that they will run and hide from you, and they are not interested in attacking you, and the chances of getting bitten are greatly reduced if you don’t try to catch and hold them, which we doubt you will ever attempt.

Subject: RE: centipede in stool??
Location: Houston, TX
September 1, 2016 8:10 am
Hi, I am hoping that you can give me some insight into this matter. My husband has had diarrhea for about a week now. He went to the doctor, and we are waiting for results from his stool sample. This morning, he had an accident in his pants, and we found this worm that doesn’t resemble any of the more common intestinal parasites. I searched the internet, and found a post from Feb. 2013 titled “Can Centipedes really crawl up your butt??” The culprit resembles the picture in the post, so I am wondering what the final findings were. Thanks.
Signature: concerned wife

Centipede found in husband's messy underwear

Centipede found in husband’s messy pants.

Dear concerned wife,
We invested much research into the posting you cited:  Can Centipedes really crawl up your butt??  What we find troubling about your submission is that your Centipede does not look like a Soil Centipede, the group that was the subject of all our research as well as other strange reports we have received including Soil Centipede presumably passed during bowel movement and Soil Centipede found in Bath WaterBugGuide also has a submission of a Soil Centipede found in a human stool sample.  Soil Centipedes are described on BugGuide as being:  “Slender, rather sluggish eyeless centipedes that have 27 to 191 pairs (the number of leg pairs is always odd) of legs and 14-segmented antennae. They burrow in the substrate in a manner similar to earthworms, by elongating and contracting their bodies.”  If our calculations are correct, your Centipede has fewer than 21 pairs of legs, so it is NOT a Soil Centipede.  Additionally, your Centipede does not appear like it has been in a human gastrointestinal tract.  Your Centipede appears like it might be in the genus
Cryptops, based on this imaged of Crytops hortensis which is posted to BugGuide and appears to have the same number of legs as your individual.  We also have a posting on our site of a Tiger Centipede found in a young lady’s panties, and it was definitely NOT a parasite.  We suspect it just sought out a warm dark place, which is what we are inclined to believe regarding the Centipede you found.  We would urge you to keep the specimen and take it to the doctor conducting the stool sample, but again, we are inclined to believe the two instances are a coincidence and that your husband’s diarrhea is not related to the discovery of the Centipede in his dirtied pants.  Please keep us posted if there are additional developments or questions.

Subject: Is this a Sawfly larva?
Location: South Surrey, BC, Canada
July 24, 2016 12:18 pm
Hi Bugman,
I came upon several of these in my garden in South Surrey, BC, Canada in June, 2016. South Surrey is south of Vancouver, BC, near White Rock, just north of the USA border (WA State) — just in case your readers aren’t familiar with the local geography.
I had no idea what they are, but I think they look like your photo of a Sawfly larva. Are they harmful to plants or beneficial insects?
Thanks for your help.
Signature: Jerry Steinberg


Flatbacked Millipedes

Dear Jerry,
These are NOT Sawfly larvae.  They are Flatbacked Millipedes,
Harpaphe haydeniana, and according to BugGuide:  “This particular millipede secretes a dark fluid that has an odor similar to the almond extract used in cooking. Apparently this is a defensive manuveur. Millipedes also curl up in tight coils when threatened.  Caution: Many millipedes with bright color patterns secrete a compound containing cyanide. Wash your hands after handling them and do not allow children to pick them up.”  According to Island Nature:  “the millipede can perform its duty as a ‘macroshredder,’ breaking up plant material and initiating the process of nutrient recyclying [sic] in the soil ecosystem … . In fact, it plays such an important role in the process that it can be considered to be a “keystone” species.”

Thanks so much!
Keep up the GREAT work!