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House Centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata)


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

 Updated: 1/24/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




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



House Centipedes have an abundance of legs that are so close together, they are almost feathery. The body is covered with black and yellow mottling with a dark line running down the 'spine'. Fifteen pairs of legs appear crop up around the entire body. Each one has light and dark banding on it. The last pairs of legs on the body are typically the longest. Large compound eyes adorn the head, and males tend to have very long antennae.

As terrifying 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. They are fierce predators and consume many insects a day. House Centipedes move EXTREMELY fast and run with their bodies held high above the ground, almost like floating on air. Only when they stop do they bring their bodies back down to the surface. Their ability to go from 0-60 mph/kmph in half a heartbeat freaks out even the bravest among us. They are not considered aggressive toward people and usually try running for cover when spotted. Though they are unlikely to bite people, they are able to inflict a painful nip if handled.

The House Centipede is a very common sight throughout North America, particularly in indoor locations that have high moisture. They are no stranger to bathtubs and will sometimes emerge from drain holes. Other house locations that they may be found in or around are the crawlspace, the porch area (drawn in by porch lights), and wash basins. They are mostly active at night, but are sometimes seen on or near walls during the day. In warmer climates, they can be found outdoors.




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.