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Tiger Centipede - Scolopendra polymorpha

Tiger Centipede - Scolopendra polymorpha
Lake Hodges, Rancho Bernardo, San Diego County, California, USA
December 28, 2002
Size: about 70 mm
This type of centipede is pretty common under rocks in the San Diego area.

am new to this...but
I had what i think is a scolopendra polymorpha rail through my house. I was unable to get a picture but it's behavior was alarming for someone whom is not used to a 7" centipede in the house. The pics and description on the site match what was in my house. I live in Acton, CA. It first appeared 4 days ago on the carpet and quickly disappeared under a small defect in a brick fasad in the house. 2 nights ago it roamed the living room carpet with abandon. While TV and lights were on it moved quickly across the living room, then across again under the couch, then across again to the TV and climbed the wooden cabinet about 1' above the ground, then moved back to under the couch and then crawled into some laundry I was sorting. I know centipedes can be dangerous so I finally scooped it up in a cup with a stiff envelope...(no simple feat was fast...and pissed) and tossed it outside. I did not want to kill it. Do you think this is what it was and what do I do next time? thanks

Range extension
I pretty sure I have seen one of these an a glade in south central Missouri. My dad is a wildlife biologist and told me it wouldn't be the first time a species showed up were it shouldn't be. I was not able to collect it but I will be out looking this summer.

Because I'm unable to upload pictures of the Scolopendra polymorpha i have I thought I might ask a quick question. Everywhere I go, people keep telling me this thing is highly dangerous. I caught it down in Southern California ( Orange County ) They tell me it bites and will hurt or kill my pet. I found it when i lifted a tree branch off the ground to move it for my horse to jump it. it scared me when it swiftly cralled towards me looking quiet angered. I'm worried now because I brought it home to show my little brother and my mom. I would just like a real story from someone who has seen one before.

Scolopendra polymorpha
I have several different varieties of Scolopendra, the S. polymorpha or "Desert Tiger", is quiet harmless it's bite is not terribly painful. Venom of this variety is nothing compared to S. subspinipes, especially S.s. de haani. Many people have been bitten by these much larger, more potent, and far more painful varieties and other than the temporary discomfort of pain are not harmed.
There has been only one recorded death from a centipede bite, in some SE Asian island country; Java, Malyasia,or someplace like that. That occured sometime way back in the day, several decades possibly closer to a century ago. From what I understand of the incident it was a small girl 2-3 yrs old, she was bit on the head. She died not from the venom, but from subsquent infection that arose in the bite wound.
Basically you have little to worry about from a bite other than some mild pain, with species you have. The native species here in North America, are quiet wimpy compared to the jungle species.
I have a few Scolopendra heros castaneiceps, they are regared as some of the most strikingly attractive Scolopendra in the world, pictures never do these beauties justice.
So, relax and enjoy your prize you have a fantastic and virtually harmless centipede.


Scolopendra polymorpha Wood,
Scolopendra polymorpha Wood, 1861, the only representative of the Scolopendridae occurring natively in California. Note the "procurved groove" on the first segment; the presence or absence of this feature is another important taxonomic character, and S. alternans in the Florida Keys lacks this groove.

san diego tiger centipede
6/2/2010. Sorry to say I killed one of these centipedes today in zip code 92124. I saw it late one night a few weeks ago on the sidewalk in the backyard. Today it was in the same area about 8 am.

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