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Centipede Envenomation

Background

Approximately 3500 species of centipedes are found in the class Chilopoda, phylum Arthropoda. They are among the less well-studied arthropods. Centipedes are elongated multisegmented arthropods with a single pair of legs on each body segment. They are distributed widely, being present on every continent except Antarctica, and are especially common in warm temperate and tropical regions. Centipedes spend much of their time underground or in rock piles and usually come out at night to actively hunt their prey. They are capable of very fast movement when exposed. The most dangerous species belong to the genus Scolopendra, with the largest members (Scolopendra gigantea) reaching lengths of 26 cm. See the image below.

Giant desert centipede. Photo by Michael Cardwell.

Giant desert centipede. Photo by Michael Cardwell.

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