Amazonian Giant Centipede (Scolopendra gigantea) - Wiki
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[Photo] Scolopendra gigantea, as advertised by Mark M Lucas,Post Office Box 9871, Coral Springs, Florida 33075, on his Web site http://markmlucas.com/Invertebrategallery.htm
Scolopendra gigantea, the Peruvian giant yellowleg centipede or Amazonian giant centipede, is the world's largest representative of the genus Scolopendra, regularly reaching lengths of 26 cm and can exceed 30 cm. It inhabits the northern and western regions of South America and the islands of Trinidad and Jamaica. It is carnivorous, feeding on lizards, frogs, birds, mice, and even bats.
The body consists of 21 to 23 segments which are coppery red or maroon in color, each with a pair of yellow-tinted legs; the legs are adapted for fast walking (even running).
The centipede has modified claws called forcipules which curve around its head and can deliver venom into its prey. The extremely potent venom, containing acetylcholine, histamine, and serotonin, is toxic to humans and causes severe swelling, chills, fever, and weakness. Some sources claim the sting is no worse than a hornet sting.
S. gigantea is a popular pet among arthropod enthusiasts, but should not be handled without protective equipment, as even a trace of the venom coming in contact with skin can cause a reaction.
Female S. gigantea centipedes exhibit parental care, guarding and tending their nests of eggs. Juveniles are very dark red or black in color, and very thin with large spherical red heads. They molt several times before reaching adult size.
The centipede is featured in BBC's television series Life in the Undergrowth, written and presented by David Attenborough. In the series the centipede is filmed entering a bat cave and catching a bat in mid-flight.
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