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- Giant Vietnamese Centipede
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Giant Vietnamese Centipede
Giant Vietnamese Centipede
Centipedes, despite their name which stems from the Latin words 'centum' (meaning 'hundred') and 'ped' (meaning 'foot'), they normally have around half that number of legs, though it is possible to find centipedes with over 200 legs. They are fast-moving (among the fastest and most agile of non-flying arthropod predators), venomous, predatory, and terrestrial. Chiefly nocturnal, centipedes are found primarily in tropical climates but are also widely distributed in temperate zones. Some species are highly venomous but none can cause death in humans who are not allergic.
As in the millipedes (which, unlike centipedes, are not venomous), they are highly segmented (15 to 173 segments—always an odd number) with one pair of legs per segment The legs on the first body segment are modified into venom bearing fangs that the Centipedes use to hunt their food. The body segments are flattened and some or all of them bear spiracles for breathing, the actual number varies between orders. They generally have a single claw at the end of each leg which they walk or run on (i.e. they are digitigrade), except the fast moving Scutigera which have a multi-articulate foot with numerous hairs to help them get a better grip on the ground.
The head of a centipede has a pair of antennae and jaw-like mandibles, and other mouthparts that evolved from modified appendages. The most anterior trunk segment of a centipede has a pair of venomous claws (called maxillipeds) that are used for both defense and for capturing and paralyzing prey. It attacks its prey with the last prehensorial legs, then curves its head quickly behind to implant its venomous jaws deeply and firmly into the prey. The prey is held by the centipede's other legs until it dies from the fast-acting venom. With the help of their venomous bite, they not only catch a variety of insects and scorpions, but also small lizards and rodents.
The Giant Vietnamese Centipede is a large and aggressive centipede that is not restricted to the country of Vietnam, as its' name might suggest. In actuality, the Vietnamese Centipede is found throughout the worlds' tropical and subtropical regions, especially in Southeast Asia. The body is long and flat with 21 body segments. Adults of this species have been reported to reach body lengths of 6-8 inches. Adults shed their skin once a year and can live for more than 10 years.
Their antennae are easily visible and the poisonous jaws are located beneath the head. The jaws are composed of a venom gland; a venom duct; a venom-injecting curved, pointed jaw; and powerfully developed muscles. The hind legs, although prominent, are nonvenomous and are used for clasping prey.
The male produces capsules containing mature sperm cells, which are deposited in a reservoir of the female during mating. The female then fertilizes her immature eggs and deposits them in a dark, protected area. She guards the eggs until they hatch. Immature stages of centipedes are known as juveniles and depending on the species, may undergo several growth stages (molts) before reaching the adult stage.
You can find the Phoenix Zoo’s Giant Vietnamese Centipede in the Forest of Uco
Sources—http://www.extento.hawaii.edu/kbase/urban/Site/Centip.htm; http://www.earthlife.net/insects/chilopod.html; http://www.myriapoda.org/chilopoda/Scolopendrinae/slides/Scolopendra_subspinipes_MM.html; http://www.atshq.org/forum/showthread.php?p=18225#post18225; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centipede; http://www.petbugs.com/caresheets/S-subspinipes.html; http://www.stlzoo.org/animals/abouttheanimals/invertebrates/centipedes/giantcentipede.htm