Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Order Scolopendromorpha - Bark Centipedes

Silvery Centipede - Scolopendra polymorpha Tropical Centipede - Scolopocryptops sexspinosus - female Large Centipede - Scolopendra viridis Scolopendra? - Scolopendra Scolopendromorpha? - Cryptops hortensis Centipede in a warm embrace - Scolopendra polymorpha Unknown Centipede - Cryptops hortensis Giant Redheaded Centipede? - Scolopendra heros
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Myriapoda (Myriapods)
Class Chilopoda (Centipedes)
Order Scolopendromorpha (Bark Centipedes)
Numbers
3 family worldwide, all represented in NA; in our area, 27 spp. (incl. 6 introduced) in 9 genera; worldwide, 33 genera and ~600 described (estimated 800) spp.(1)(2)
Identification
21 (Scolopendridae, except Scolopendropsis, and Cryptopidae) or 23 pairs of legs (Scolopocryptopidae)(1)
Range
in warmer regions worldwide; in our area much more diverse towards the south, esp. in states bordering Mexico; two spp. reach Canada (so. ON, BC) and one, so. AK(2)
Food
Predacious
Remarks
They can bite and also pinch with their last pair of legs. Bites may cause intense pain, swelling, discoloration, numbness, and necrosis, and require medical assistance, although there are no really dangerous, deadly centipedes, and no confirmed human fatalities.(1)
Print References
Cloudsley-Thompson J.L. (1958) Spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and mites. (revised ed. 1968). Pegamon, Oxford. 228 pp.
Crabill, R.E., Jr. (1960). A new American genus of cryptopid centipede, with an annotated key to the scolopendromorph genera from American north of Mexico. Proc. of the U. S. Nat. Mus., 111, 1–15. (Full Text)
Shelley R.M. (2002) A synopsis of the North American centipedes of the order Scolopendromorpha (Chilopoda). Virginia Museum of Natural History Memoir 5:1-108. (Order here)