The Characteristics of Centipedes, Animals

The Characteristics of Centipedes

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It’s easy to be alarmed at the sight of a fast-moving centipede racing across your floor, but you have little to fear from these multi-legged arthropods. According to Utah State University, it’s unusual for a human to be bitten by a centipede and highly unusual for such a bite to do any lasting harm. Centipedes actually do more good than harm, due to their predatory natures.

General Appearance

While centipedes typically don’t get longer than about 2 inches, in areas where there’s plenty of warmth and moisture they may reach up to 12 inches in length. They have flattened bodies made up of a series of segments, with rounded heads capped by two long antennae. On close inspection it becomes obvious that the antennae are made up of a series of tiny segments, larger next to the creature’s head and gradually getting smaller toward the end. Centipedes are generally brown, reddish-brown or gray, though color varies by species.

Centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment. The pair directly behind the head is specialized and serve as fangs the centipede uses to bite its prey. The last pair of legs is also specialized and is longer than the rest, allowing the centipede to catch and hold its prey while it injects venom. The centipede’s legs stick out from its body on both sides, making it easy to distinguish from the millipede, which has all its legs underneath it.

Even if most people don’t welcome centipedes into their homes, this arthropod is beneficial because it eats many of the pests that might otherwise cause damage to the house or its contents. Centipedes use their venom to paralyze prey such as insects and spiders. If a large number of centipedes are observed in one area, such as your home or garden, chances are that they are there because of an abundance of prey. Eliminating the prey will decrease the centipede population.


Centipedes live in damp, sheltered places such as under rocks and logs or in the cracks along walls or foundations. They cannot survive where it is dry and may move into damp basements, hiding under boxes on concrete floors or in cracks between the slabs. Centipedes will also take shelter in kitchens and bathrooms to take advantage of the moisture there. They are mostly nocturnal and rarely seen in the daytime, though they may sometimes venture out to hunt while the sun is still up.

Mosquito characteristics

Mosquito description, feeding, behavior and reproduction

What is a mosquito like?

– Common English Name: Mosquito

Scientific classification:

Class: Insecta

Order: Diptera

Family: Culicidae

Characteristics of mosquito

  • Longevity: Several weeks or months, according to the species.
  • Habitat: Humid areas, as pools, forests, gardens, human constructions.
  • Distribution: Cosmopolitan.
  • Customs: Terrestrial and nocturnal species normally.
  • Feeding: Plants, animal, matter in decomposition.
  • Predators: Birds, bats, fish, aquatic insects, amphibians.

Photo of mosquito. It feeds on fresh blood that it sucks from vertebrates by means of its biting-sucking mouth parts.

Physical appearance of mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are small insects equipped with a pair of wings and a mouthpiece transformed into a kind of trunk, prepared for suction.

There are other dipteran insects similar to mosquitoes but they do not sting, as is the case of chironomids, similar in size to the true mosquito but with very hairy antennas or the typical ones, much larger than mosquitoes.

Mosquito behavior

Mosquito larvae are aquatic and are totally dependent on water to develop.

Mosquitoes form swarms composed of males. They are the ones who carry out mosquito dispersal flights in search of a guest to give his blood or to allow the propagation of the species.

Depending on the species of mosquito, the ability to fly is different. Culex pipiens remains in place as conditions are favorable, while Ochlerotatus caspius makes long travelling windblown.

Mosquitoes bite particularly at dawn and dusk; some mosquitoes, as Culex modestus, can feed on blood during the day,though.

Mosquitoes do hibernation even in mild winters. For this reason, mosquitoes take refuge in basements.

It is a characteristic the mosquito-pitched sound, emitting constant and annoying as it flies in the silence of the night.

Mosquito feeding

Photo of female mosquito filled with blood. When the mosquito finishes biting a person his abdomen swells, he becomes plump and loses flight capacity

Only female mosquitoes bite people.

Why do female mosquitoes bite people?

They bite because they need to draw blood for the maturation of eggs because they require blood proteins.

Each species of mosquito has a preference for the host on which they feed. For example:

  • Culex Hortensis mosquito bites in preference to amphibian
  • Culiseta longiareolata prefers the blood of birds.
  • Culex pipiens mosquitoes do not need blood for his first egglaying since they take reserves accumulated during the larval stage.
  • When mosquitoes are adults, they take a while before eating. Then, if they are female, they feed on blood. If they are male, they feed on nectar.
  • Female mosquitoes have biting-sucking mouthparts because they are blood-sucking insects.

Mosquito reproduction

A mosquito has a complete metamorphosis, going through the phases of egg, larva, pupa and adult

The larval stage lasts 10 days. The nymph stage is shorter than the larva, about 3 days.

When the female mosquito sucks blood, it tooks refuge in a safe shelter for the total development of the eggs.

The number of mosquitoes that lay eggs depends on each species, but also on the amount of blood that has been taken.

Where does a mosquito live?

The mosquito lives in areas with standing water. It needs these places to lay its eggs.

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Problems that mosquitoes cause

Mosquito bite can transmit certain diseases such as malaria (malaria), yellow fever and dengue.

Some mosquitoes can transmit diseases to animals.

More information on mosquitoes.


What is a Centipede?

Centipedes are sometimes called house centipedes or «hundred-leggers» because of their many pairs of legs. They are widely distributed throughout most of United States and the world. Centipedes are rarely seen by humans due to their nocturnal activity and the speed in which they move. Most centipedes live for more than a year and some up to six years. Read on to learn more centipede facts.

Centipedes Identification

Pest Stats


Yellowish to dark brown, sometimes with darker stripes or markings


Elongated, flattened, worm-like



Found throughout U.S.

What do centipedes look like?

House centipedes are easy to spot by their elongated, worm-like body with their many pairs of legs. They can actually have anywhere from 15-177 pairs of legs with one pair per segment, depending on the species. Interestingly, centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs.

In general, the body of a centipede is usually yellowish to dark brown in color, sometimes with darker stripes or markings. The heads of centipedes have a pair of long and sensitive antennae covered with dense hairs. They have small mouths and have large, claw-like structures that contain a venom gland. In fact, some centipedes have compound eyes containing as many as 200 optical units, while others have a cluster of simple eyes on each side of the hear or no eyes.

There are two representative species. The usual pest species is the common house centipede Scutigera coleoptrata (Linnaeus). This centipede is about 1-1 1/2” (25-38 mm) long. Its body is grayish yellow with three longitudinal dark stripes. The house centipede has 15 pairs of long legs. The antennae and last pair of legs are longer than its body. The largest centipedes are in the genus Scolopendra and may grow to as much as 6” (15 cm) long. Their legs and antennae are shorter than those of the house centipede.

Signs of an infestation

Centipedes typically leave no direct signs of an infestation other than the sighting of the pest itself.

Mosquito (Culex spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Mosquito.

Updated: 8/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content В©

The ubiquitous Mosquito is both a valuable food source and a colossal human nuisance in rainy and wet areas around the world.

One could say that most humans loathe Mosquitoes on a personal level. They bite, leaving itchy red spots that can take days or weeks to resolve. They buzz about faces and heads, flying close to ear canals. Swarms loiter above and around doorways. They are carriers of serious and lethal diseases for humans and other animals. For all that there is to dislike about a Mosquito, there is one major reason to appreciate having them around: food. Mosquitoes are abundant, especially in humid regions and tropical areas. This makes them a readily available meal for reptiles, amphibians, birds, bats, crustaceans, fish, and loads of other insects.

The Mosquito is a type of fly. An adult Mosquito has long legs, a long narrow abdomen, and a proboscis. Its wings are short and transparent. It looks clumsy in flight, but can be difficult to catch in the air. Females are the biters; males only drink nectar. Females need the protein found in blood to make eggs, so while they also drink nectar, hemoglobin is still necessary for reproduction. Mosquito saliva contains chemicals that slow the clotting of blood. A female can quickly fill a special stomach with blood if the host has high blood pressure, which helps pump blood out faster once the mouth parts have pierced skin.

Females lay fertilized eggs in still water or at the edge of it. Water sources can include a quiet pond, a puddle of water in a tire, or an uncovered rain barrel. Once eggs hatch, larvae feed on algae and bacteria. As pupae, they float just under the surface of the water, often in groups. Adults can live from 5 to 14 days in nature.

In the process on taking blood, the mosquito can passively transmit viruses and other disease-causing agents into the host’s bloodstream. Malaria, dengue and yellow fever, Zika and West Nile virus, tularemia, and elephantiasis are diseases spread by Mosquito bites. Because these diseases are a threat to public health and safety, population control and management strategies exist in many parts of the world. Chemical spraying, larvicide tablets for ponds and lagoons, and campaigns to eliminate standing water from residential and corporate properties all aim to reduce population sizes. Personal measures like applying a repellent and using outdoor candles and products with citronella helps reduce bites.


Centipedes Centipedes (Class Chilopoda) are fast-moving, venomous, predatory, terrestrial arthropods that have long bodies and many jointed legs. Centipedes are found primarily in tropical climates, however, they are also widely distributed in temperate zones. Despite their name ‘centipede’ (which means ‘100 legs’), all centipedes do not have 100 legs. Centipedes are invertebrates meaning ‘without a backbone or spinal column’.

Centipede Characteristics

Centipedes have a hard exoskeleton and jointed legs.

Like the millipedes, centipedes are highly segmented (15 to 177 segments), but with only one pair of walking legs per segment (millipedes have two legs per segment).

The head of a centipede has a pair of antennae, jaw-like mandibles (called forcipules) and other mouthparts. The most anterior trunk segment of a centipede has a pair of venomous claws (called maxillipedes) that are used for both defence and for capturing and paralyzing prey. The bite of a smaller centipede in temperate areas may be similar to a bee sting, but the bite of a larger tropical species is excruciatingly painful, leaving two black puncture wounds as much as a centimetre apart.

A common centipede is the house centipede (Scutigera forceps), which is about 5 centimetres (2 inches) long and has 15 pairs of legs. Some centipedes glow in the dark (like the Geophilus electricus).

About 20 families and 3,000 species of centipedes have been discovered worldwide.

Centipede colours vary from pale yellow through to deep brown. Their bodies are always dorso-ventrally flattened. Although, like all arthropods, centipedes are covered with a tough outer coat, however they do not have a waterproof layer and stay in moist areas where there is no danger of drying up.

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Centipede Habitat

Many centipedes live in the soil and leaf litter, while those that hunt freely on the ground are strictly nocturnal and spend the day hiding under logs and stones where they can keep moist. They live on land in moist microhabitats (under rocks and logs, in leaf debris, or occasionally in burrows).

Centipede Predators

Centipedes come under attack from various other animals such as birds, toads and shrews as well as humans, if they are accidentally trodden on. (Some people also eat centipedes).

Fierce Centipedes

There are some rather fierce centipedes living on the planet such as the ‘Giant Redheaded Centipede’. They are fast moving and very aggressive. They are about 6 inches long but some can be 8 inches long. They can be found in the rocky woodlands in Arkansas and other southern parts of America. (Fortunately, not in the UK).

Unfortunately, these aggressive centipedes can be rather dangerous. It was once witnessed in the 1920’s, an officer being injected by a centipede with poisonous venom from one of these ‘Redheaded Centipedes’ and actually dying after developing an infection. It is hard to believe that these little crawly things that resemble the innocent caterpillar can bite.

It is very rare to be bitten by centipedes and like most animals, will only bite in self defence. However, if you are bitten by a centipede, the following procedure may be of help:

Place some ice wrapped in a small towell or other suitable cloth on the site of the bite for 10 minutes and then take it off for 10 minutes. Repeat this process. If the patient has circulatory problems, decrease the time to prevent possible damage to the skin.

Before Calling Emergency Services:

Determine the following information:

* the patients age, weight and health condition
* the identity of the centipede if possible
* the time of the bite

Centipede Diet

Centipedes are carnivores (meat-eaters), they use venom to kill their prey. The venom comes from glands that open near the first pair of modified legs (which act as poisonous fangs). Their bite can be painful to a human but not lethal in general.

Centipedes eat insects, earthworms, spiders, slugs and other small animals.

The largest species of centipede is ‘Scolopendra gigantea’ which can grow to be about 12 inches long and 1 inch wide and is found in Central America.

Centipede Reproduction

Male centipedes spin a small web onto which they deposit a spermatophore (a capsule or mass created by males of various invertebrate species, containing spermatozoa) for the female to take up. Sometimes there is a courtship dance and sometimes the males just leave them for the female centipedes to find. In temperate areas egg laying occurs in spring and summer but in subtropical and tropical areas there appears to be little seasonality to centipede breeding.

The Lithobiomorpha, and Scutigeromorpha species lay their eggs singly in holes in the soil, the female fills the hole in on the egg and leaves it. The young usually hatch with only 7 pairs of legs and gain the rest in successive molts. Scutigera coleoptera, the American house centipede, hatches with only 4 pairs of legs and has successive molts before becoming a mature adult. It takes about 3 years for some species to achieve adulthood, however, like millipedes, centipedes are relatively long-lived when compared to their insect cousins. Some can live for 5 or 6 years.

Other centipede female species show far more parental care, the eggs 15 to 60 in number are laid in a nest in the soil or in rotten wood, the female stays with the eggs, guarding and licking them to protect them from fungi. The female in some species stays with the young after they have hatched, guarding them until they are ready to leave. If disturbed the females tend to either abandon the eggs or young or to eat them.

Centipede Bites: 6 Symptoms and 7 Effective Treatments

Centipedes are quite poisonous as well as voracious. At the base of centipedes’ fangs, there is a gland where venom forms. Maxillipeds manage venom which is present on the first segment of their body. When they capture their prey, the venom present in their gland is squeezed up through the muscles which carry it. With the venom, the toxins are also ejected by ducts that look like a needle. In spite of that, the venom is not strong enough to take the life of a human. However, the majority of centipede bites are quite painful, as well as hazardous.

There are many kinds of centipedes present across the world. All species contain venom in their glands. Nonetheless, a bite of each kind has its reactions. According to researchers, it has not been seen that bites of centipede killed people or pets. Bites of each kind can cause severe problems for individuals and pets. Ordinary house centipedes do not pose a threat to humans.

House centipede bite is not as painful as the other ones. Their bite is similar to the typical bug bite. Their venomous glands depend on their sizes. Large plastic centipede is a very aggressive kind of centipedes. People must not try to handle these centipedes. Big brown centipede leaves a prominent bite mark. Giant desert centipede venom looks exactly like a snake bite. Characteristic centipede can inject their entire toxic dose in just one bite.

These pests’ have maxillipeds which are a pair of front legs that are curved at the back of the mandibles and just about the head. Venom is injected in the prey when the maxillipeds enter in the victims’ tissue through the gland at their base. The maxillipeds of tiny centipedes are quite weak to pass through people’s skin. Their bites cause minor pain. Due to this reason, the discomfort posed by the bites of small centipedes is similar to the bees’ bites.

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Largest centipedes have more venom than the small ones. Because of this reason, their bites are painful. Big centipedes bites can cause too much discomfort still is not deadly to humans. The pain caused by the bite of centipede will end up in some days. The victims will need to cover up their wounds gently and carefully. Following proper wound care principles is imperative.

Humans must not try to tackle these pests as they can bite. Children, as well as people with sensitive issues like allergies, must be identified cautiously whenever a centipede bites them. If there are any medical issues, occur then it is better to consult a doctor immediately. When centipede bites, then suddenly pain is caused yet side effects will occur in a short time.

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Table of Contents

Why Do they Bite Humans? —>

A centipede bites whenever it feels insecure and to defend itself it bites. These pests also bite when they capture their prey. These pests are shy due to which they bite when they hunt for food or to defend themselves. There are particular large species of centipedes that are present in the tropics. These giant centipedes front a severe biting danger to people. They grow large because of which they have too, much venom. In some regions of England, there is small centipedes present which is not too much harmful to humans and pets. These pests are too tiny due to which they are unable to penetrate the skin in people and pets. Sometimes, big centipedes which have right sized forcipules will surely bite people. Nasty centipedes can bite people when they are tackled roughly or when they get smashed by the naked skin.

What are the Symptoms?

Centipede infestations are not limited. Different things can happen to various people. If you already have allergy problems than centipede bites can trigger many other allergic reactions. In Fatal bite case, you have to rush to your doctor right away. Minor swelling is one the typical symptoms of Centipede bites. Swelling gets to normal within a few hours. Pain is also caused, but its severity depends on the amount of venom. However, there are sometimes when the infection gets worse around the bitten region. There are different symptoms of centipede bites that are following:

  1. Heartbeat can become abnormal which is known as heart palpitations. The pulse can become too slow or fast, yet the bitten person will be aware of the abnormal heart beat rate.
  2. The bites can also trigger nervousness, tiredness, and vomiting.
  3. The bites can also cause a headache. The harshness of a problem depends largely on the amount of venom.
  4. Swelling of the lymph nodes will occur.
  5. The victim will feel severe itching at the bitten area, and this area will become reddish.
  6. People who have medical issues like allergies or children will have to face severe reactions.

First Aid Treatment

One should go for first aid treatment at once after identifying the centipede bite. Triple antibiotic ointment is excellent to use on the bitten area to stop the instant pain. Hawaiian rock salt can also work well to cure the wound of centipede bites. You have to apply the Hawaiian rock salt directly on your bitten area but gently. There are diverse things which you can do to prevent immediate pain and heal the wounds. First aid treatment methods are described below which every child or adult can follow easily:

  • You have to clean the bitten area with water and soup immediately. You have to wash the wound at least two times.
  • Dry up the bitten area gently with a clean towel.
  • You have to monitor for the allergic reasons to poison for a few people. Anaphylaxis is not caused in all. If it occurs, then you have to apply pressure on the bitten area.
  • Consult a medical specialist for effectual treatment.

7 Centipede Bite Treatment

The bite of the centipede looks like a bite of the snake. There are two punctured presents on the bitten area. The bites of centipedes can cause become severe painful. Pain is one of the worst parts of the sting. These bites are not too much toxic. Bites are quite irritating, and swelling can be formed on the bitten region. Whenever a centipede bites you, then you have to follow simple yet effective treatment methods. These treatment methods are following:


  1. Do not panic – The first thing you have to do is not to panic! If you get panic, then you will not be able to do the treatment properly. Always keep in mind that centipede bites are not life taking. These pests are not toxic at all. You have to relax although the sting might hurt you a lot. However, do not panic as the sting is treatable.
  2. Use an antiseptic soap – Whenever you have observed the bite of a centipede than you have to get an antiseptic soap for yourself. With this soap and water, you have to wash the bitten area properly. Remember that you do not have to scratch the bitten area during washing. You have to use a real antiseptic soap otherwise your pain can get worse.
  3. Hot Compress – If you want to reduce instant pain as soon as possible then you have to use a hot compress. Whenever the bitten region gets swelled up, then you can also use an ice pack or cold compress for lessening pain. These treatment methods are quite easy to follow and effective as well.
  4. Take ibuprofen to counter the pain – If you are having severe pain, then you can take ibuprofen to counter the pain as quickly as achievable.
  5. Use hydrocortisone cream for relieving from Itching – the bite of centipede can also trigger itching around the bitten area. Some people take anti allergic medicines, but they will take time. For rapid action, you can use hydrocortisone cream. You have to apply this cream on the bitten area, and it will ease you from itching in just a few minutes.
  6. Take antibiotic capsules after consulting – It is not compulsory to take antibiotics all the time when a centipede bites you. On the other hand, if you get any infection then you can take antibiotic capsules but after consulting your physician. In the event of severe centipede bite, there is a possibility of getting tissue death or necrosis. However, there is no need to worry as it will cure on its own. In a few cases, you have to take Tetanus to cover up secondary infections.
  7. Go to see a doctor – When centipede bites you then it is recommended that you contact a doctor. You must take advice and follow the treatment prescribed by your doctor.


Centipedes are kinds of pests. They bite when they want to defend themselves or when they come across their prey. When they bite they leave actual poison exposure in their victims. When a centipede bites you, then you have to go for first aid. In any severe condition, you must consult your physician.

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