Let's face it. We know you probably have seen a centipede or millipede before...and probably in your house. These critters are extremely fast, so almost before you have a chance to scream, they disappear from sight. But boy, are they gross. Still, there's a somewhat enigmatic quality about each of them. Here is information about them that you always secretly wanted to know!
What is the difference between a millipede and a centipede? Millipedes have a lot more legs than centipedes. While both their names are exaggerations, as the millipede does not have 1000 legs and the centipede does not have 100, they do have ALOT of legs; the millipede is known to have between 40 and 400 with a maximum of 750 legs. Centipedes have from 30 to 50 legs, with one species having a lot more, at 350 legs. Fun fact: No centipede has exactly 100 legs, despite the name, because centipedes have an odd number of legs! Another difference between millipedes and centipedes is that millipedes are more round and have two legs per body segment. Centipedes are more flat and have 1 leg per body segment.
Interestingly, neither of them are actually classified as insects; instead they are arthropods, and are related to lobsters, crayfish, and shrimp. The most glaring difference between milllipedes and centipedes, and insects is that insects generally have 6 legs-while these bugs have a lot more!
Which begs the next question: Why DO they have so many legs? This is because their bodies are divided into segments, which are mostly identical, making them metameric animals. This is thought to be an evolutionary process, and traces of this development can be seen in humans in the repeating vertebrae of their backbones. With this body system, how do millipedes and centipedes get around? Millipedes move their legs in a wave-like fashion along their bodies, which propels them forward. Centipedes move their legs in a wave-like fashion while walking, allowing them to attain great speeds.
Millipedes and centipedes must stay away from direct sunlight, as they do not have the waxy cuticle of insects and thus run the risk of drying out. They also live in moist habitats. This is why you may see these creatures in dark crevices in your residence, or near a sink or pipe, or other moist location.
What to do if you see them in your residence?! The all-important question. Firstly, while they are probably one of the most disgusting looking insects, they are not actually dangerous. While centipedes may bite, the bites are not fatal, although you may experience chills from them. But obviously you want to get rid of these! The good news is that these creatures do not usually infest houses, so if you see one, it may just be one, and you can kill that one and rest easy. If you see one of these repeatedly, it may work to put glue traps in the locations where you see them, as this will stop them. Also, millipedes and centipedes need moisture and a food source, so a great way of keeping them out is by making sure there aren't moist cracks and crevices around the house. Also, centipedes eat insects, so (besides for all the other reasons to keep insects out!) make sure there aren't insects hanging around your house, as this will deprive them of a food source!
All in all, while millipedes and centipedes are gross and freaky, they aren't generally a huge problem in the house and they are relatively easy to get rid of. And after you freak out about them, realize how many interesting facts there are about them! Read More