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House Centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the House Centipede.

 Updated: 8/2/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The helpful, fast and frenzied House Centipede makes short work of ridding homes from unwanted pests.



House Centipedes are covered with black and yellow to white coloring. Legs appear to surround the body which consists of 15 pairs of banded legs. The body itself is striped lengthwise with a dark-to-light-to-dark pattern. Large compound eyes adorn the head and males typically have very long antennae. The last pair of legs in the series on the body will typically be the longest.

As hideous as these insects may appear, the House Centipede is actually super-beneficial in the under-belly of a home, assisting homeowners in keeping bigger pests such as cockroaches and moths at bay. House Centipedes move EXTREMELY fast and run with their bodies held high above the ground. Only when they stop do they bring their bodies back down to the surface. They are fierce predators and consume many insects a day.

The House Centipede is a very common sight throughout North America, particularly found in indoor locations that are wet or damp and most often times active at night. In warmer climates, they may be found outdoors as well as indoors.

House Centipedes are no strangers to bathtubs and will sometimes emerge from drain holes. Other house locations that they may be found in is the crawlspace, near the porch area (drawn in by porch lights) and in basin-type setups.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Chilopoda
      Order: Scutigeromorpha
        Family: Scutigeridae
          Genus: Scutigera
            Species: coleoptrata
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Scutigera coleoptrata
Other Name(s): Centipede
Category: Centipede
Size (Adult; Length): 34mm to 35mm (1.33in to 1.37in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; brown; ivory; yellow; white
Descriptors: many legs; extremely fast; large; helpful
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.