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Centipedes (from Latin prefix centi-{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, "hundred", and pes, pedis{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, "foot") are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda. They are elongated metameric creatures with one pair of legs per body segment. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs, ranging from 30 to 354. Centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> Therefore, there is no centipede with exactly 100 legs. A key trait uniting this group is a pair of venom claws or forcipules formed from a modified first appendage. Centipedes are a predominantly carnivorous taxon.<ref name="Biology">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>:168

Size can range from a few millimetres in the smaller lithobiomorphs and geophilomorphs to about {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} in the largest scolopendromorphs. Centipedes can be found in a wide variety of environments. Centipedes normally have a drab coloration combining shades of brown and red. Cavernicolous (cave-dwelling) and subterranean species may lack pigmentation and many tropical scolopendromorphs have bright aposematic colours.

Worldwide, there are estimated to be 8,000 species of centipede,<ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> of which 3,000 have been described. Centipedes have a wide geographical range where they even reach beyond the Arctic Circle.<ref name="Biology"/> Centipedes are found in an array of terrestrial habitats from tropical rainforests to deserts. Within these habitats, centipedes require a moist micro-habitat because they lack the waxy cuticle of insects and arachnids, and so lose water rapidly through the skin.<ref name=IZ/> Accordingly, they are found in soil and leaf litter, under stones and dead wood, and inside logs. Centipedes are among the largest terrestrial invertebrate predators and often contribute significantly to the invertebrate predatory biomass in terrestrial ecosystems.


Centipede sections
Intro  Description  Life cycle  Ecology  Evolution  Orders and families  Selected species  See also  References  External links  

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{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}}

Centipedes (from Latin prefix centi-{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, "hundred", and pes, pedis{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, "foot") are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda. They are elongated metameric creatures with one pair of legs per body segment. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs, ranging from 30 to 354. Centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> Therefore, there is no centipede with exactly 100 legs. A key trait uniting this group is a pair of venom claws or forcipules formed from a modified first appendage. Centipedes are a predominantly carnivorous taxon.<ref name="Biology">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>:168

Size can range from a few millimetres in the smaller lithobiomorphs and geophilomorphs to about {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} in the largest scolopendromorphs. Centipedes can be found in a wide variety of environments. Centipedes normally have a drab coloration combining shades of brown and red. Cavernicolous (cave-dwelling) and subterranean species may lack pigmentation and many tropical scolopendromorphs have bright aposematic colours.

Worldwide, there are estimated to be 8,000 species of centipede,<ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> of which 3,000 have been described. Centipedes have a wide geographical range where they even reach beyond the Arctic Circle.<ref name="Biology"/> Centipedes are found in an array of terrestrial habitats from tropical rainforests to deserts. Within these habitats, centipedes require a moist micro-habitat because they lack the waxy cuticle of insects and arachnids, and so lose water rapidly through the skin.<ref name=IZ/> Accordingly, they are found in soil and leaf litter, under stones and dead wood, and inside logs. Centipedes are among the largest terrestrial invertebrate predators and often contribute significantly to the invertebrate predatory biomass in terrestrial ecosystems.


Centipede sections
Intro  Description  Life cycle  Ecology  Evolution  Orders and families  Selected species  See also  References  External links  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Description
<<>>