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Reddish Vale Country Park

Though the name "centipede" means "a hundred legs", most centipedes actually have much fewer. The common centipede has 15 pairs of legs and is an agile hunter.

 

Common centipedes are long thin, rusty-brown-coloured creatures with segmented bodies and a single pair of legs on each segment. There are two long antennae and a modified pair of legs that function as jaws at the head. The hind pair of legs project backwards and are as long as the centipede's antennae, making it difficult to tell which is the front end.

 

Centipedes can be found under stones, in soil and decaying matter. They are commonly found in gardens.

 

They feed on insects, spiders and other small invertebrates including other centipedes.

 

Common centipedes are fast crawlers and can crawl backwards almost as easily as forwards. They have poor eyesight and rely on their sensitive antennae to find their way around. The hind pair of legs have sensory bristles that allow them to feel their way when crawling backwards. Centipedes are nocturnal and prowl around at night searching for prey, which they paralyse with their venomous claws.

 

The exoskeleton has no waterproofing so centipedes prefer to stay in damp places. During summer, centipedes will burrow into the soil to stay moist

 

Centipedes have only 14 legs when they hatch. As they grow they shed their skin and grow new segments and legs. 

 

Centipede

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Reddish Vale Country Park

Centipede