Centipedes are predatory arthropods that belong to the class Chilopoda. and the subphylum Myriapoda, an arthropod group that includes millipedes and other multi-legged creatures.

The Latin centipeda, comes from centi- (“hundred”) and ped-, pedi, pedis (“foot”).

Centipedes are elongated creatures with one pair of legs per body segment (two legs), unlike millipedes that have two pairs of legs on each segment (four legs). Despite the name, centipedes pairing of legs can range from 30 to 354.

Most centipedes are venomous, often inflicting painful bites and injecting their venom through pincer-like appendages that are known as forcipules. They have enough venom to kill large prey such as mice and lizards. Not all centipedes have potent venom. The order Scutigeromorpha centipedes have relatively weak venom.

Centipede (genus Scolopendra), Central Australia
Centipede (genus Scolopendra), Central Australia
  • Scientific classification
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Myriapoda
  • Class: Chilopoda