Thursday, February 28, 2008

Milo re-named Cedric the Centipede

I unequivocally defer to your superior knowledge of the natural world, Jane and Jane, and thank you for correcting me with regards to the Milo/Cedric millipede/centipede muddle.

For those of you as uneducated as me when it comes to these many-legged beasts, here are some facts.


Millipedes have two pairs of legs per segment (except for the first segment behind the head which does not have any appendages at all, and the next few which only have one pair of legs). Each segment that has two pairs of legs is a result of two single segments fused together as one.

Millipedes are slow moving because they have so many little stumpy legs.

Most millipedes eat decaying leaves and other dead plant matter, moisturising the food with secretions and then scraping it in with the jaws.

There are around 10,000 species!

The giant African millipede is the largest species of millipede and can grow to 28cm. Urgh. Would definitely not want THAT crawling round my bathtub


Centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment.

They have a pair of poison claws formed from a modified first appendage. This also means that centipedes are exclusively predatory which is uncommon.

Centipedes require a moist micro-habitat due to their rapid rates of water loss. This is why Milo liked it in my bath.

The bite of a typical centipede can be very painful for humans, similar to that of a wasp sting and can usually be treated with an antihistamine if no infection develops. Some tropical centipedes can be more dangerous, however.

Centipedes have a fossil record dating back 420 million years to the late Silurian

Centipede mating does not involve copulation. Males deposit a spermatophore for the female to take up. Some males undertake a courtship dance to encourage the female to engulf his sperm. In other cases, the males just leave them for the females to find. I’m hoping Milo didn’t leave any in my bath for me to find.

The Amazonian giant centipede, is the largest existing species of centipede in the world, reaching over 30 cm in length. It is known to eat bats, catching them in midflight, as well as rodents and spiders.

The prehistoric Euphoberia was the largest known centipede, growing up to one metre in length.

Thank you Jane and wikipedia for these amazing facts.


Blogger Tracy said...

I now feel much more educated than I did five minutes ago. Thankyou for that :)

7:10 PM  

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