Centipedes represent a group of arthropods, divided in many groups and species, but they have in common many features. Nonetheless, there are features that make them different. The name “centipedes” comes from Latin. centipedes are metameric animals, having one pair of legs per body segment. They can have between 20-300 legs and may also have pairs of venom claws.
Usually, centipedes are red and brown, as well as many hues of these colors, but there are cavernicolous and subterranean species which have bright colors. The size of centipedes is also very various, from a few millimeters to approximately 12 inch. Nowadays, are estimated to be 8,000 species of centipedes in the world, but scientists try to discover things about these creatures and new species. Centipedes can be found even beyond the Arctic Circles, as well as in deserts, tropical forests, so they occupy large areas and adapt to many types of climate. Plus, centipedes live in leaf litter, in soil, under or in dead wood, as well as under stones and in logs. They have an important contribution in the terrestrial ecosystems.
The main features of these creatures consists of a pair of antennae, a flattened head, elongated mandibles and two pairs of maxillae. Centipedes also have ocelli that sometimes can form compound eyes. This makes them have not a great vision, but they can discern light from dark.
Centipedes rely also on vibrations and sensory cells. The body is formed from several segments and almost all segments have a pair of legs, while the final two segments are smaller and legless. With their antennae, centipedes look for their prey. The digestive system of these creatures is as a tube, with digestive glands. Generally, centipedes are nocturnal, but studies have shown that there are also a few species active during the day. These animals are the prey of many birds, salamandres, mice, mongooses, beetles and snakes. The bite of centipedes can harm people and it can be very painful, producing also swelling.