Their size can range from a few millimetres in the smaller lithobiomorphs and geophilomorphs to about 30 cm (12 in) in the largest scolopendromorphs. The more derived groups bear a plurality of spiracular openings on their sides, and are termed the Pleurostigmomorpha. Little is known of the life history of the Craterostigmomorpha. They also have 14–segmented antennae. [7], Behind the head, the body consists of 15 or more segments. Jaubert & Spach – false wheatgrass P: Genus Eriachne R. Br. [4] They are found in an array of terrestrial habitats from tropical rainforests to deserts. A spiral ridge occurs on the nucleus of the spermatozoon. P: Genus Eriochloa Kunth – cupgrass P: Genus Eriochrysis P. Beauv. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content. [1][2][3] Therefore, no centipede has exactly 100 legs. [10] The combination of a small number of eggs laid, long gestation period, and long time of development to reproduction has led authors to label lithobiomorph centipedes as K-selected.[11]. Centipedes live in many different habitat types—forest, savannah, prairie, and desert, to name a few. The fossil record of centipedes extends back to 430 million years ago, during the Late Silurian. The geophilomorph centipedes have variable segment numbers within species, yet as with all centipedes, they always have an odd number of pairs of legs. The Geophilomorpha, commonly known as soil centipedes, bear upwards of 27 leg-bearing segments. Every leg-bearing segment of this organism has a separate tergite, these alternating in length apart from a pair of long tergites on each of segments 7 and 8. The group includes at least seven families: Mecistocephalidae, Geophilidae (including the former Linotaeniidae, Dignathodontidae and Macronicophilidae), Oryidae, Himantariidae, Schendylidae (including the former Ballophilidae), Zelanophilidae, and Gonibregmatidae (including the former Neogeophilidae and Eriphantidae). In some species, the first pair of legs at the head end of the centipede acts as sense organs similar to antennae, but unlike the antennae of most other animals, theirs point backwards. Centipedes have a rounded or flattened head, bearing a pair of antennae at the forward margin. Geophilomorphs lose water less rapidly than lithobiomorphs, though they have a greater surface area to volume ratio. Most scutigeromorphs from other parts of the world belong to the Scutigeridae, which includes two subfamilies, the Scutigerinae and Thereuoneminae. [14][15], Many larger animals prey upon centipedes, such as mongooses, mice, salamanders, beetles and snakes. The Craterostigmomorpha only have one phase of anamorphosis, with embryos having 12 pairs, and moultees 15. Centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs. Females of the Geophilomorpha and Scolopendromorpha show far more parental care. Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers. Examination of centipede gut contents suggests that plant material is an unimportant part of their diets, although centipedes have been observed to eat vegetable matter when starved during laboratory experiments. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs, ranging from 30 to 354. They are probably used for sensing vibrations, and may even provide a sense of hearing. The only 2 known amphibious centipedes, Scolopendra cataracta and Scolopendra paradoxa belong to this order.[14][15][33][34]. Water loss is a result of centipedes lacking a waxy covering of their exoskeleton and excreting waste nitrogen as ammonia, which requires extra water. Family: Oryidae. … [25] A 19th-century Tibetan poet warned his fellow Buddhists, "if you enjoy frightening others, you will be reborn as a centipede."[26]. Most centipedes are generally venomous and can inflict painful bites, injecting their venom through pincer-like appendages known as forcipules. There is a single ocellus on each side of the head capsule. It also has relatively short antennae and legs compared to the Scutigeromorpha. Said to have medicinal properties and to be reinvigorating,[22] the liquor with the centipede submerged in it is consumed as a special drink. The number of leg-bearing segments varies widely, from 15 to 191, but the developmental mode of their creation means they are always added in pairs—hence the total number of pairs is always odd. [6], Forcipules are a unique feature found only in centipedes and in no other arthropods. In the primitive condition, exhibited by the Lithobiomorpha, Scutigeromorpha, and Craterostigmomorpha, development is anamorphic: more pairs of legs are grown between moults. After the full complement of legs is achieved, the now postlarval stadia (about five stages) develop gonopods, sensory pores, more antennal segments, and more ocelli. Within the myriapods, centipedes are believed to be the first of the extant classes to branch from the last common ancestor. These are located at the base of the antennae, and consist of a disc-like structure with a central pore surrounded by sensory cells. The venomous bite of larger centipedes can induce anaphylactic shock in such people. Unusual sense organs found in some groups are the organs of Tömösváry. The Chilopoda are then split into two clades: the Notostigmophora including the Scutigeromorpha and the Pleurostigmophora including the other four orders. In addition, centipedes are relatively long-lived when compared to insects. Insect, any member of the class Insecta (Hexapoda), the largest class of phylum Arthropoda, about 1 million species or three-fourths of all animals.

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