From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Scolopendra sp.jpg
Scolopendra cingulata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Chilopoda
Order: Scolopendromorpha
Family: Scolopendridae
Genus: Scolopendra
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Scolopendra morsitans [1]
Linnaeus, 1758

Scolopendra (through Latin from Greek σκολόπενδρα, skolopendra) is a species-rich genus of often very large centipedes of the family Scolopendridae.


Scolopendra are very large centipedes, with all species capable of reaching at least 10 cm (3.9 in) in length. In temperate climates, species are typically small to medium sized, though almost always still the largest centipedes in their respective habitats. Species from the tropics may reach 20 cm (7.9 in) to 30 cm (12 in) or more, and are the largest living centipedes.[2] One southeast Asian species, S. cataracta, is amphibious, and swims and walks underwater.[3][4]

Ecology and venom[edit]

They are active predators, taking prey as large as lizards, rodents, and bats, but also small insects such as the stingless bee species Tetragonula iridipennis.[5][6] Their bites are very painful, but are rarely fatal in humans.[7] The venom is delivered through the animal's forcipules, which lie just behind the mandibles. The venoms of Scolopendra species contain compounds such as serotonin, haemolytic phospholipase A, a cardiotoxic protein, and a cytolysin.[8]

Taxonomic history[edit]

Scolopendra was one of the genera created by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae, the starting point for zoological nomenclature. Only two of the species originally assigned to the genus remain so: Scolopendra gigantea and S. morsitans; the latter was chosen to be the type species by Opinion 454 of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature,[2] overruling a previous designation by Pierre André Latreille, in which he chose Linnaeus' Scolopendra forficata (now Lithobius forficatus) as the type species.[9]


The genus Scolopendra contains these species:[1][10]


  1. ^ a b "Scolopendra Linnaeus, 1758". ChiloBase. Università di Padova. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b R. M. Shelley & S. B. Kiser (2000). "Neotype designation and a diagnostic account for the centipede, Scolopendra gigantea L. 1758, with an account of S. galapagoensis Bollman 1889 (Chilopoda Scolopendromorpha Scolopendridae)" (PDF). Tropical Zoology. 13 (1): 159–170. 
  3. ^ Holmes, O. (1 July 2016). "Giant swimming, venomous centipede discovered by accident in world-first". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2016. 
  4. ^ Bates, M. (26 June 2016). "'Horrific' First Amphibious Centipede Discovered". National Geographic. Retrieved 1 July 2016. 
  5. ^ Vijayakumar, K. (2012). "Predation of stingless bees (Trigona iridipennis: Apidae, Meliponinae) by centipede (Scolopendra hardiwicki: Chilopoda: Scolopendramorpha)". International Journal of Advanced Life Sciences.
  6. ^ J. Molinari, E. E. Gutiérrez, A. A. de Ascenção, J. M. Nassar, A. Arends & R. J. Márquez (2005). "Predation by giant centipedes, Scolopendra gigantea, on three species of bats in a Venezuelan cave" (PDF). Caribbean Journal of Science. 41 (2): 340–346. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-10-09. 
  7. ^ S. P. Bush, B. O. King, R. L. Norris & S. A. Stockwell (2001). "Centipede envenomation". Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. 12 (2): 93–99. PMID 11434497. doi:10.1580/1080-6032(2001)012[0093:CE]2.0.CO;2. 
  8. ^ Robert L. Norris (November 19, 2008). "Centipede Envenomation". eMedicine. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  9. ^ Ralph E. Crabill, Jr. (1955). "Proposed use of the plenary powers to designate for the genus "Scolopendra" Linnaeus (Class Myriapoda) a type species in harmony with the accustomed usage". Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. 11 (4): 134–136. 
  10. ^ a b Siriwut, Warut; Edgecombe, Gregory D.; Sutcharit, Chirasak; Tongkerd, Piyoros; Panha, Somsak (May 17, 2016). "A taxonomic review of the centipede genus Scolopendra Linnaeus, 1758 (Scolopendromorpha, Scolopendridae) in mainland Southeast Asia, with description of a new species from Laos". ZooKeys. 590: 1–124. doi:10.3897/zookeys.590.7950. 

See also[edit]