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Asian Giant Centipede Fact File

Appearance

Asian giant centipedes have a body divided in to two segments. These are the head and the trunk which the many legs which give them their name are attached to. On the head they have a pair of antennae which allow them to find prey through either smell or touch. A pair of modified legs known as the forcipules sit either side of the mouth and are used to inject the venom which kills their prey.


Along the body are the legs. Centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment as opposed to millipedes which have two. These long legs allow them to run at high speeds. Their body has 21 segments.


The most common coloration is a brown head and a dark green body. The first segment is typically lighter than the rest of their body. Their legs are yellow or orange. Their color is variable though.


The Asian giant centipede is one of the largest varieties of centipede. They can grow up to 20cm (7.9in) long.

Diet

Asian giant centipedes are carnivores. They feed on a range of arthropods such as insects, spiders and earthworms. Small animals such as frogs and rodents may also be consumed by larger individuals.


Prey is caught with their legs and they then inject it with their venom. The other legs then hold it till the prey is immobilized by the venom.

Asian giant centipede

Scientific Name

Scolopendra subspinipes

Conservation Status

Not Evaluated

Length

20cm (7.9in)

Lifespan

10 years

Diet

Carnivorous

Range

This species of centipede has a wide range across much of the Earth. They can be found in Asia, South America, Australia and Africa. They are found on many islands throughout the Indian ocean along with the island of Hawaii.

Habitat

They can be found in a range of tropical, subtropical and temperate areas.


Asian giant centipedes will shelter under stones or wood, in crevices or among leaf litter.

Asian giant centipede

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Reproduction

Breeding is variable across their range. In tropical areas it seems to occur year round.


The male and female come together for mating. He will deposit his sperm cells in a reservoir in the female. She will then use this to fertilize the eggs.


Her eggs are deposited in to a dark, protected area and she will guard them till she hatches.


It will take three or four years for them to reach their adult size.

Behavior

As they grow the Asian giant centipede will shed its cuticle or outer body covering to expand their body. Adults perform this once a year while juveniles do it more often.


Adult centipedes are solitary only coming together to mate.


Most of their activity takes place at night.

Asian giant centipede

Predators and Threats

Humans impact them through collection for the pet trade and in some areas they may be eaten.


Some unconfirmed reports of humans dying after being bitten by an Asian giant centipede do exist.

Quick facts

They have a range of alternative names including Asian forest centipede, Vietnamese centipede and orange-legged jungle centipede.


Some people keep them as pets.

Asian giant centipede

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Photo Credits

Top

By Daiju Azuma – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1017537


Middle One

By Sam Fraser-Smith – https://www.flickr.com/photos/samfrasersmith/2545038918/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30428885


Middle Two

By Helena-Sophia Exel – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26279338


Bottom

By Christophe95 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93740750

References

Extento.hawaii.edu. 2020. Scolopendra Subspinipes. [online] Available at: <http://www.extento.hawaii.edu/kbase/urban/Site/Centip.htm> [Accessed 15 November 2020].

Brough, C., 2020. Vietnamese Centipede. [online] Animal World. Available at: <https://animal-world.com/encyclo/reptiles/centipedes/VietnameseCentipede.php> [Accessed 15 November 2020].

Fenderson J. L. (2014). Centipede envenomation: bringing the pain to Hawai'i and Pacific Islands. Hawai'i journal of medicine & public health : a journal of Asia Pacific Medicine & Public Health, 73(11 Suppl 2), 41–43.

Petbugs.com. 2020. Vietnamese Centipede Care Sheet. [online] Available at: <http://www.petbugs.com/caresheets/S-subspinipes.html> [Accessed 15 November 2020].

Australia, A., 2020. Species: Scolopendra Subspinipes. [online] Bie.ala.org.au. Available at: <https://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:afd.taxon:3ed37b28-416b-447f-8769-4f0b30bc2d0f#overview> [Accessed 15 November 2020].

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