Centipedes are arthropods from the Animalia Kingdom, Myriapoda Subphylum and Chilopoda Class. Centipedes have a pair of legs for every body segment and the number of pairs is usually odd. The coloration of centipedes is mostly with brown or red, but some lack pigmentation. Size ranges from a few millimeters to the largest centipedes who reach 30 centimeters. In the world live about 8000 species of centipedes and they can be found in all type of habitats. Most are found in soil and leaf litter, inside logs, wood and under stones. Centipedes are extremely important for the ecosystem.
The reproduction of centipedes does not involve copulation. Males are depositing a spermatophore, containing spermatozoa for the females to take up. The spermatophore is deposited in a web and the male must court the female to convince it to swallow it. Other times, males just leave the spermatophore in such a manner so the females can easily find it. Some centipedes lay eggs in spring and some in summer, depending on the climate. Some centipedes species, like Lithobiomorpha and Scutigeromorpha lay their eggs in the soil, fill the holes and leave them there. They lay from 10 to 50 eggs. The development of the embryo depends on the species, but it usually takes between one and 6 months. Some centipedes may be reproductive earlier in their life, some later. A species named S. coleoptera enters adulthood after 3 years. In comparison with insects, centipedes live far more time – some even reach 5 or 6 years.
The Geophilomorpha and Scolopendromorpha species show more parental care than others. After the eggs are laid - between 15 and 60, the females guard them and lick them to keep fungi away. In some species, the females even stay with the younger centipedes until they reach early adulthood and they are ready to leave the nest. If the females centipedes are disturbed, they will either eat or abandon their eggs. Abandoned eggs are usually prey of fungi. In some species of Scolopendramorpha, the offsprings are eating their mothers, these type of actions making the species to be named matriphagic.