Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Centipedes

The large ones have a dangerous bite...

Centipedes are insects that live in the ground or among dead leaves and other vegetable debris.  They are also found in the woods and forests and/or in sheltered spots which ensure them darkness and a sufficient amount of humidity.

Despite their hard cuticle, which forms a kind of armor around the body, centipedes are not at all resistant to dehydration, as they quickly die when deprived of dampness.  It is therefore remarkable to discover that the largest species of centipede live in desert areas and on tiny Ocean islands.  They are to be found on several of the Galapagos Islands, and what is even stranger, on Rodrigues Island - an island that is quite lost in the middle of the Indian ocean.  The presence of these centipedes on these volcanic islands is a mystery which is far from being solved, going by what I have read in the past.

Centipedes are carnivorous and eat other insects and small worms.  The large "giant centipedes" will attack scorpions, lizards and will even eat small animals and birds.  It is funny, though, because birds often eat the smaller versions of this insect; ha!

Their steel-sharp mandibles are lined with a canal joined up to poison glands.  The bite of the large centipedes is dangerous and a number of cases of fatal poisoning are known about in Brazil and other tropical countries.  If you'd like to read more about the big centipedes, I found a decent web page entitled "Giant Carnivorous Centipedes," here:  http://www.damninteresting.com/giant-carnivorous-centipedes/

Centipede reproduction does not involve copulation. Males deposit a spermatophore for the female to take up. In one clade, this spermatophore is deposited in a web, and the male undertakes a courtship dance to encourage the female to engulf his sperm. In other cases, the males just leave them for the females 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.


Image Credit: Wikipedia

---End of Post "Centipedes"

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