Centipede | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Centipede | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Centipede Overview


Centipedes are elongated arthropods with segmented bodies. They are typically flattened and have numerous legs, with one pair of legs per body segment. Their coloration varies but often includes shades of brown and red. Centipede has a pair of venomous fangs or forcipules near their heads, which they use to inject venom into their prey.

Origins And Evolution

Centipedes have ancient origins dating back hundreds of millions of years to the Paleozoic era. They belong to the class Chilopoda, a group of arthropods characterized by their elongated, multi-segmented bodies. Centipedes evolved from more primitive arthropods, gradually developing adaptations for predation.

Over time, they diversified into a wide range of species, each adapted to specific habitats and prey preferences. Their evolutionary history is marked by the development of specialized structures, such as venomous fangs for subduing prey and numerous legs.

Behavior and Lifestyle

Centipedes are carnivorous arthropods known for their predatory behavior. They are primarily nocturnal, often hunting at night to locate prey using their well-developed antennae.

Centipedes possess venomous fangs (forcipules) near their heads, which they use to immobilize and consume a variety of small animals, including insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. They are typically solitary creatures, seeking refuge in dark, damp environments during the day, such as under rocks, leaf litter, or within soil crevices.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Myriapoda
  • Class: Chilopoda


  • Forests
  • Grasslands
  • Gardens
  • Leaf litter
  • Soil
  • Under rocks
  • Caves
  • Moist habitats
  • Tropical regions
  • Temperate regions

Fast Facts

  • Name: Centipede
  • Scientific Name: Class Chilopoda
  • Habitat: Moist environments, soil
  • Diet: Carnivorous, insects, invertebrates
  • Physical Features: Segmented, many legs
  • Nocturnal: Primarily active nocturnally
  • Solitary: Typically solitary creatures
  • Unique Order: Arthropod class
  • Lifespan: Several years possible
  • Conservation Status: Generally not assessed
  • Fun Facts: Venomous fangs, predators

Physical Characteristics

  • Color: Varies, often brownish.
  • Skin Type: Exoskeleton, segmented.
  • Top Speed: Quick runners.
  • Lifespan: Several years possible.
  • Weight: Lightweight arthropods.
  • Length: Range of sizes.
  • Age of Sexual Maturity: Variable by species.
  • Age of Weaning: No parental care.

Centipede FAQs

Q: Are centipedes venomous to humans?

Some centipede species have venomous fangs and can deliver painful bites, but most are not harmful to humans.

Q: What do centipedes eat?

Centipedes are carnivorous, preying on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.

Q: Do centipedes have a lot of legs?

Centipedes have a variable number of legs, ranging from a few dozen to over 300, depending on the species.

Q: Are centipedes dangerous to plants or crops?

Centipedes primarily feed on other small animals and are not considered pests to plants or crops.

Q: Where do centipedes live?

Centipedes are commonly found in damp environments like forests, gardens, and under rocks or leaf litter.

Q: How long do centipedes live?

Centipede lifespans vary by species but can range from several months to several years.

Q: Are centipedes social insects?

Centipedes are typically solitary creatures, though they may interact during mating.


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