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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Class: Chilopoda (centipedes)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthropoda > Myriapoda

centipede

Scolopendromorph centipede [photo Hamish Robertson ]

centipede

Scutigera sp. (Scutigeromorpha). People tend to find these in their (empty) baths. [photo Hamish Robertson ]

Centipedes are predators and have one pair of legs per body segment whereas millipedes are mainly herbivores or detritivores and have two pairs per segment. Centipedes have a pair of venomous claws (forcipules) on the first body segment behind the head, which are used for subduing prey and for protection (beware of picking up a live centipede). A total of 124 species of centipede have been recorded from South Africa according to the South African Animal Checklist (SANBI). See Wikipedia for an introduction to centipedes.