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Bark Centidpede (Scolopocryptops sexspinosus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Bark Centidpede

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Bark Centipedes are noiseless creatures found outside near trees or woodlands, where they canvas tree bark looking for their next meal.

Updated: 06/09/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Bark Centipedes are agile, fast-moving arthropods (not insects) that tend to startle people with their appearance. Unlike tubular millipedes, centipedes have flattened segments and this helps them squeeze through narrow spaces. Their bodies are reddish brown and legs are yellow. They have only one pair of legs per segment. Their diet of insects makes the outdoors their natural habitat, but they may occasionally be found inside, especially in outbuildings, basements or cellars. They are mostly active at night.

Bark Centipedes have a fang that injects venom into their insect prey. They are capable of biting humans, too, and may do so if disturbed, injured, or threatened. Picking them up is not recommended. Though the bite is not fatal, it can be quite painful and leave a red and irritated patch of skin around the wound. Young centipedes are smaller, paler versions of adults. They will molt multiple times, shedding their exoskeleton as they grow wider and longer. They may live up to about 5 years.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon
Segmented insect icon
Shiny insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Chilopoda
      Order: Scolopendromorpha
        Family: Scolocrytopidae
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          Genus: Scolopocryptops
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            Species: sexspinosus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Scolopocryptops sexspinosus
Category: Centipede
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 50mm (0.98" to 1.96")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red; yellow; orange
Descriptors: legs; armor; plates; segmented; fast; curvy; shiny

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 25mm (1.0in) and 50mm (2.0in)
Lo: 25mm
Md: 37.5mm
Hi: 50mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Bark Centidpede may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Bark Centidpede. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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