|Image via Wikipedia|
The House Centipede originated in the Mediterranean but they have managed to somehow get themselves all over the world. Many still live outdoors but, much like the silverfish, they have found the warmth of human abodes to make for a wonderful habitat, especially when it starts to get cold out. They may even pay you for the shelter you're so kindly offering them. Not in money, unfortunately, but in labour. So long as that labour involves killing and eating little insects, anyway.
|Image by e_monk via Flickr|
I guess you can't call them "leggy blondes", can you? Those long, spindly legs are pretty extraordinary, though. It all looks tremendously complicated and leaves them almost comically lanky. You may notice that their back legs are the longest and they get shorter and shorter as you reach the head. This isn't a preposterous attempt at being aerodynamic, it actually means that each leg can step over the legs in front so that they can run around with surprising speed without tripping over themselves. Those legs are also quite fragile and can be broken off easily to aid them in an escape, leaving them with a mere 29 legs. Calamity! They'll be regrown with the next moult, though. Phew!
|Image by Tim Gage via Flickr|
Like all centipedes, the first pair of legs have become pincer shaped forcipules and are used to sting. The venom is powerful enough to kill their prey and House Centipedes have even been seen attacking wasps and waiting patiently for the venom to take affect. Less deadly prey can simply be leapt on and overcome without fear of reprisal. It's tactical thinking like that which ensures House Centipedes can live for 3 to 7 years depending on just how clement their environment is.
Mating occurs in the Spring, where the female lays more or less 100 eggs. She will look after them for several weeks, holding them in her legs and cleansing them of fungus. She will even keep hold of the larvae after they hatch. I suppose she's worried because at that point they only have 8 legs. 8 measly legs! Eventually she must let go, whereupon dozens of young House Centipedes march off to begin their lives. Party at your house!