How many legs do centipedes have?
The centipedeis an anthropod in the same classification with the millipede but it is the predatory cousin of the millipede. It is in chilopoda class and the subphylum Myriapoda. The word centi has been confusing to most people when it comes to the number of legs this anthropod has. Most believe that it has one hundred legs because of this. However, this is not the case.
The number of legs on centipede
The number of legs on a centipede is determined by the number of segments on its body. The longer the centipede, the more the number of legs. Typical centipedes can have 15 to 177 pairs of legs on their body but you can expect even more legs on species like the Peruvian giant yellow leg centipede. Known scientifically as the scolopendraGigantea this species can reach 12 inches in length and will feed on rodents, lizards, birds and even catch bats midflight to feed on them.
Centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment which is unlike the millipedes that have more than one pair of legs per segment. The scolopendromorphs which are a species of centipedes typically have between 21 and 23 pairs of legs. If you come across the scutigeromorpha species you will notice that they have 15 pairs of legs as do the Lithobiomorpha. The Geophilomorphs have the most number of legs featuring 177 legs.
Mostly we encounter the house centipede which is characterized by a rounded trunk. For every centipede species there is a pair of legs just after the head that act as fangs. They carry the venom that the centipede uses to paralyze its prey before eating it. One would think that with so many legs the centipede is the master of balance. But there is a method to the leggy madness. The further away from the head the legs are the longer they become to give the body balance.
Centipedes like other anthropods like spiders can drop their limbs when they need to and regenerate them at a later point. Upon hatching the house centipede comes with four pairs of legs and with each molt the centipede gets more legs.
The centipede uses its legs to sense any danger and movement around it. They act as additional antennae and they also help it get away faster. The last legs on the centipede have sensory bristles. You will notice that centipedes do not have an even number of legs. They only have an odd number of legs.