Centipedes are invertebrates belonging to the class Chilopoda. They do not necessarily have a hundred legs. The number of legs varies in different species and can range anywhere from 32 to 202. They are long and slender. They can be as tiny as 5 mm or as long as 70 mm. Their body is segmented and each segment has a pair of legs. You can find yellow to brown and black colored centipedes. Their heads are round and/or oval.
They have characteristically flattened bodies. An oval shield covers their heads. Their eyesight is extremely poor. A few centipedes have numerous simple eyes on the oval shield. Others are mostly blind. They make use of the antennae present on the oval shield for locomotion. They move around by sensing the ground and the objects around them. They love damp moist humid conditions and are often seen hiding beneath stones, rocks, leaves, etc. Any place where they feel secure and have moisture is considered an ideal centipede hangout.
Centipedes are night hunters. They make use of antennas to smell and move around without hitting against obstacles. They feast on worms, spiders, beetles, springtails and slugs. They use their jaws to catch hold of the prey. They inject venom through the prey’s body system killing it. They make use of maxillae (accessory jaws) to bite and chew the prey. They are cannibalistic in nature.
You might be wondering how a centipede manages to walk and run without tripping over. Well, their legs are evolved in such a way that the posterior pair of legs is always longer than the ones in the anterior segment, making sure that they do not cross or trip over one other.
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