Centipedes are arthropods belonging to Class Chilopoda. They are predatory and venomous. Venom is produced by a gland at the base of the fangs and is administered by maxillipeds on the first body segment.
The number of legs a centipede has depends upon the number of body segments that make up its body, and this number varies by species. Centipedes typically have one pair of legs per segment.
A fully equipped adult centipede can have between 15 and 177 pairs of legs. Members of the Orders Lithobiomorpha and Scutigeromorpha have 15 pairs of legs. Unlike other centipede species, the Scutigera have long, multiarticulate, hairy legs, which enable them to establish a solid grip on the ground and move very quickly.
However, Scutigera centipedes are not capable of pushing themselves through soil or into detritus. The house centipede has a rounded trunk with long, delicate legs, while the Geophilomorphs have long, slender bodies with up to 177 pairs of short legs. The colorful Scolopendromorphs have from 21 to 23 pairs of legs.
Are House Centipedes Poisonous to Humans?
Upon capturing prey, the poison gland is squeezed by the muscles surrounding it and ejects toxins through needle-like ducts. Despite this, the venom usually is not strong enough to be life threatening to people, and most centipede bites are typically more painful for humans than they are dangerous.