Geek Trivia

House Centipedes Originated In What Region Of The World?

South Africa
Central Asia
The Mediterranean
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Answer The Mediterranean

House centipedes, formally known as Scutigera coleoptrata, are nearly ubiquitous throughout the temperate world. Although you can now find them everywhere from Russian kitchens to American basements, the centipedes are originally from the Mediterranean region of the world, but have slowly and steadily hitched rides with travelers and cargo over the centuries.

If you’re not a fan of bugs, you’ll hardly be a fan of house centipedes (especially if you come across one unexpectedly). From tip-to-tip (including their antennae), they’re typically around four inches long and they’re extremely speedy; house centipedes are capable of burst speeds of around 16 inches per second, which appears startlingly fast to the human eye. That said, despite its startling appearance and behavior, the centipedes are very handy little creatures to have around.

They typically avoid humans and prefer to stay out of sight. Although they do have a mildly venomous sting (delivered through modified legs), they lack the strength to ‘puncture’ human skin (and prefer to avoid humans in the first place). More importantly, they spend their entire lives actively hunting down other insects and their eggs/larva. A house centipede can live up to seven years and it will spend all those years killing spiders, ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, termites, and any other household arthropods it comes across. In the tiny stage of your home’s cracks, crevices, and crawl spaces, the Scutigera coleoptrata is a veritable Angel of Death.

So the next time you see one scurry out of sight, don’t fire up the vacuum or roll up a magazine to dispatch it, wish it well as it tirelessly roams your house looking for tiny invaders to hunt down on your behalf.

Image courtesy of Didier Descouens