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Associated observations

Photos / Sounds


Pacific Giant Centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes)




May 17, 2016


The Atualoa or Centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes) has a brown head and a dark green body; the first segment is a lighter green than the rest of the body. The body is long and flat with 21 body segments. There is one pair of legs per body segment. The antennae of the centipede are long enough to be seen easily; the poisonous jaws are less visible, as they 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. These centipedes shed their outer covering (cuticle) in order to grow.

Juvenile and adult centipedes live alone and are most active at night. During the day they can be found in damp, dark places: under leaf litter, rocks, and logs, and in soil crevices. When the weather is too wet or too dry, or when residential construction disrupts their habitats, these pests seek other locations, including the insides of homes. Once inside a home they seek dark areas (inside shoes and clothing, under bedding, and in cracks and crevices), although they prefer areas with high humidity such as bathrooms, damp closets, and basements. The large centipede is not aggressive toward people and will bite only when disturbed or threatened. The male produces capsules containing mature sperm cells (spermatophores), which are deposited in a reservoir (spermathecae) of the female during mating. The female then fertilizes her immature eggs (oocytes) and deposits them in a dark, protected area. She guards the eggs until they hatch. Atualoa feed mostly on small insects, spiders, earthworms, and other arthropods. It has been widely distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics

Yates III, Julian R. Dec, 1992. Scolopendra subspinipes (Leach). University of Hawaii at Manoa. Retrieved on May 17, 2016 from:

Associated taxa