Centipede on pavement


Centipedes are elongated, wormlike creatures with flattened bodies and one pair of legs per body segment. They belong to the class of Chilopoda.


Despite the name “centipede” which would suggest that is has 100 feet, in Barbados the number of legs seen in most on the island is usually somewhere closer to 40. Hence the reason why we refer to a large centipede as a “forty leg”. Centipedes on the island are usually combined with shades of brown and red.


The first pair of limbs in centipedes end in sharp, poisonous claws that aid in killing or paralyzing its prey. Human beings can fall victim to bites from centipedes but the poison usually only causes a mild reaction that may be similar to that of a bee sting. In the case of a child or those who may have allergic reactions to the centipedes, immediate medical attention should be sought.


Centipedes may be found in a variety of natural surroundings but prefer secluded & protected places such as under old wood, leaves, stones, washers, dryers, stoves etc. They generally lay their eggs in soil that is covered by a sticky substance.


Centipedes, though seen as nuisances are beneficial in that they aerate the soil and prey on small insects such as moths, spiders and other insects that we may see in our homes.




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