Sunday, October 26, 2008

10-25-08 Red Centipede a.k.a "Rad Centipede"

Upon turning over a stone, some of the Future Scientists discovered a rad centipede. For images of similar centipedes, you can check

This centipede was a "soil centipede", which describes the order Geophilomorpha, meaning "ground lover dude" to those in the know. Unlike some other centipedes, soil centipedes completely lack eyes. Instead, they blindly cruise worm-holes, hunting for other tiny, bumbling, not terribly bright creatures. The soil centipedes are also unique in that they take care of their eggs and constantly lick them to prevent fungi from growing. Uncared for eggs usually mold and rot away.

In general, centipedes can be distinguished from millipedes by having only one pair of legs per body segment, whereas millipedes have two. Centipedes have a pair of venomous jaws for catching prey, whereas millipedes are not venomous, and mostly feed on decaying organic matter. The millipedes may occasionally secrete noxious substances such as cyanide, but this is unlikely to be harmful to a human handling the many-legged bugger (but don't lick the millipede!).

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