How Many Legs does a Centipede Have?

How many legs does a centipede have? Whenever we hear centipede! we imagine an elongated creature with hundreds of legs attached to its body. How many legs do these scary creatures have? are they born with these legs? what creatures would want to eat these nasty, scary creatures? These and many more are those questions that have evolved in the minds of viewers once they hear this name, Centipede!

Luckily, this article is set to unravel these mysteries and dissolve every one of these questions.


Read also: Centipede Infestation: How to Get Rid of Centipede Infestation


Summarized Facts About Centipedes

There are numerous species of centipedes in the world, with the house centipede being the most popular. Centipedes are known to be elongated creatures with one per of legs attached to each segment of its body. A house centipede gets its name from its constant presence in human homes, it is a small yellowish-grey centipede with a great number of legs. I guess you’re curious already, well, just read on!

The house centipede belongs to the kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Chilopoda

Order: Scutigeromorpha

Family: Scutigeridae

Genus: Scutigera

Species: S. coleoptrata

Although it is an Arthropod, it still feeds on other arthropods, such as insects and arachnids, e.t.c cruel right? well, it is to their fellow arthropods, so no worries.

You may have seen this scary pest before but probably mistook it for a millipede, sounds the same right? well, worry no more as we’ve listed below possible ways of identifying the centipede:

  • A centipede has an elongated, flat, segmented body encamped by a pair of legs per each body segment.
  • The centipede has a flattened head, which bears a forcipule, two pairs of antennae, and a compound eye. However, these eyes are only capable of differentiating light and dark and have no true vision.
  • The length of a centipede ranges from about 4 mm to 152 mm, depending on the specie.
  • Centipedes have clawlike structures containing a venom gland which they use in paralyzing their prey such as small invertebrates, spiders, etc.
  • Centipedes are usually brown or orange-red in color, though they may also appear in several other colors.
  • There is always a pair of long and sensitive antennae attached to its head.
  • A centipede also has numerous legs attached to its body structure.
  • You are likely to find them in moist, humid places.
  • It also has a forcipule used as a jaw to inject venomous stings on its prey.

These listed above are possible ways you can identify if that pest is a centipede or not. Without any of these descriptions, it’s certainly not one.


How Does Centipede Move?

As mentioned earlier people often mistake the centipede for the millipede and vice versa but one major difference between these two is certain which is based on their movements and feeding habits;

  • Centipedes are fast-moving creatures and are predators of insects and spiders.
  • Millipedes are slow-moving creatures and feed mostly on vegetation, although some millipedes are predatory.

Though it’s really strange, scary, and weird having so many legs or various body parts attached to your body structure, there is still an advantage to it as you’ll be able to:

  • Maneuver oneself from falling.
  • Have other legs take over when some legs begin to malfunction.
  • You shouldn’t feel so much stress walking or running.
  • The speed increase is certain.

Obviously, you want these abilities right? well, shockingly someone already has these abilities, the centipede! Because of its multiple legs, the centipede has high locomotive and maneuverability abilities. Some groups of scientists who wanted to prove this created a robot-like centipede with 12 legs to test the relationship between its stability and maneuverability and it was successful.

After much research, the study has shown that the points at which the legs contact the ground and the sensational feeling from the legs impact the overall movement of the legs. They are able to cover much ground easily by coordinating their leg movements.


Can House Centipede Climb or Jump?

Yes! because of the structure of its body and the numerous legs it has, these pests can jump (a technique known as the lassoing technique). This pest jumps when it wants to attack its prey by using its forelegs right near its head which has been mechanized to carry venom and its other legs to pick up the bug.


Read alsoThe House Centipede; Facts, Benefits and How to get rid of it


How Many Legs Does a Centipede Have?

Finally, to the answer we’ve all been waiting for. Now you know important facts about the centipede, you know it climbs walls, but the big question is how many legs do these harmless but yet nasty creatures have?

The word centipede refers to a 100-footed creature, but the thing is not all centipedes are 100-footed. Unlike the millipedes, centipedes have one pair of legs per segment and these number of legs is based on the number of segments that makes up its body. Apart from the body segments, the number of legs also depends on:

  • The species of centipede involved, as in the case of the scutigera with long, hairy legs which enables it to establish a firm grip on the ground and move quickly unlike other species.
  • The age of the centipede involved. The number of legs an adult centipede has is not likely to be the same as that of a young centipede, as adults are known to have legs ranging from 15 to 177 pairs per body segments.

The legs of a centipede increases in length as they go farther away from the head and this aids in balance and agility. The last pair of legs behind the centipede’s body is equipped with sensory bristles. The body segment behind the centipede’s head contains two legs which have been modified to be used as venomous fangs for hunting prey. One amazing fact is that this scary pest has the ability to drop off its leg when it is in a tough situation, and can still regenerate these body parts. Nasty right?

Despite the name, centipedes have a varying number of legs, ranging from 30 to 354. So it is not right to say they have 100 legs.


Final Thoughts

The centipede has been a nuisance in so many homes and is considered a pest due to its scary appearance and the number of legs it occupies. How many legs does a centipede have? this question is now a thing of the past as we’ve been able to list out various facts surrounding this question and answers to the question itself.

We’re glad to have enlightened you on the centipede legs and hope you come back for more. For more info contact us.

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