Subject: What is this bug
Location: Branson West, MO
September 24, 2012 11:47 pm
This bug was very big and looked like it had a very hard shell… I’ve never see one but it is very colorful….
Signature: GrandPaula

Giant Red Headed Centipede

Dear GrandPaula,
This is a Giant Red Headed Centipede,
Scolopendra heros, and we were surprised to get your report from Missouri, which we thought was north of the typical range.  Most of our reports are from Oklahoma and Texas.  Bugguide does have previous reports from Missouri.  The Giant Red Headed Centipede is a venomous creature, and though it is not generally considered dangerous, the bite is reported to be quite painful.  BugGuide does have this interesting information on the bite of Centipedes in the genus Scolopendra.

3 Responses to Giant Red Headed Centipede

  1. Misty Lewis says:

    I have found 2 of these ‘giant red headed centipedes’ at my home. One was already dead, so I didn’t worry about it, however, I just found a living one in my driveway last week (11-1-2013). It was very large and looked very dangerous. I have 2 very small yorkies, (4lbs and 5lbs), I was very afraid that this venomous looking centipede would kill my dogs if they were to be bitten by this creature. At that time, I had no idea what it was so I cut off its head and saved it for my exterminator. When he came, I showed the insect to him and he was ‘amazed’. He also had no idea what it was. He said he had NEVER seen anything like it. He took it with him to get it identified. In the meantime I have come to your site to ‘identify’ it on my own.
    I found your site very helpful and informative, as I now know what it is and that yes it is venomous. Thank you. P.S. I live 30 miles North of Tulsa, Oklahoma in rural Claremore.

    • bugman says:

      Texas and Oklahoma both are home to the Giant Red Headed Centipedes. While a bite is reported to be very painful, we doubt seriously that one of your dogs would die from a bite. We are happy to learn that you found the information we have provided to be helpful.

  2. Forrest D Johnson says:

    I also have seen a couple of these Red Headed centipedes by accident while moving dirt back about 1999.
    Lived rural area 5 miles north of Claremore, OK just west off Hwy 66

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