Fast Facts for Kids
Centipede Facts for Kids

Centipede Facts for Kids

  • Common Name: Centipede
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Myriapoda
  • Class: Chilopoda
  • Total Species: 3,000 to 8,000
  • Distribution: Worldwide (Except Antarctic)
  • First Appeared: ~430 million years ago

20 Centipede Facts For Kids

  1. Centipede is the common name for a large group of elongated arthropods in the Chilopoda class.
  2. You can identify a centipede by their long-segmented bodies, 30 or more legs, large mandibles, and antennae.
  3. It is common for people to confuse centipedes and millipedes, but the difference is millipedes have two legs per segment, while centipedes have one.
  4. Centipedes are not true insects, they are arthropods, like spiders and scorpions.
  5. The first centipede-like arthropods were roaming Earth at least 430 million years ago.
  6. Centipedes are widely distributed and could be worldwide, even in the Arctic Circle.
  7. Centipedes have adapted to a wide range of habits, from deserts to tropical rainforests.
  8. Centipedes are carnivorous and feed exclusively on insects.
  9. All centipede species are venomous and use their venom to subdue their prey before they eat it.
  10. The good news for humans is a centipede bite is not fatal, but can cause chills, fever, swelling, and/or weakness.
  11. There have been around 3,000 centipede species described, with scientists believing there could be up to 8,000 living centipede species.
  12. Centipedes have between 30 and 382 legs, varying by the centipede species.
  13. A normal centipede species always has an odd number of legs and even thought their name means one hundred, no species has 100 legs.
  14. The average centipede species lifespan is between 3 and 6 years.
  15. The fastest centipede species is the house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata) which can travel 16 inches a second.
  16. Centipede species come in a wide range of sizes, being as small as 0.5 inches or big as 12 inches.
  17. The smallest living centipede species is the Hoffman’s dwarf centipede (Nannarrup hoffmani) with a length around 0.4 inches.
  18. The largest living centipede species is the Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede (Scolopendra gigantea) with a length around 12 inches.
  19. The largest centipede species to ever live was the Arthropleura armata, with a length over 8 feet, it roamed Earth around 325 million years ago.
  20. Centipedes are the largest living invertebrate predators who live completely on land.

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Centipede Pictures

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the below images will be helpful for your research on centipedes. Below are three pictures of various centipede species. These pictures should help you better understand the different types of centipedes found around the world.

The Megarian Banded Centipede (Scolopendra Cingulata)

A picture of the Megarian banded centipede (scolopendra cingulata).

The House Centipede (Scutigera Coleoptrata)

A picture of the house centipede (scutigera coleoptrata).

A Centipede Eating Its Prey

A picture of a centipede eating its prey.

Centipede Resouces

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