How I learned to love their tiny legs and love the house

Welcome to Meet Hour Little Neighbors, a regular series of little boys in and around us, but rarely get the attention they deserve.

A few months ago, one of my roommates, who was a cat, ate one of my roommates, who was a centipede at home. The whole incident could have escaped my notice if I had not seen the watermelon (cat) curl up with its thorny legs protruding from its mouth like an extra caterpillar. It’s too late to save the house centipede (name given unknown), half swallowed but still boldly twisted, but, in short, I mourn its death.

The first time I saw a centipede in a room lying on the bed climbing onto my roof, I knew I hated it. I hated how its body looked like a pair of false eyelashes capable of unusual speeds – flying across my walls faster than a foot per second. When it was fixed, I hated that I couldn’t tell which side was the head and which side was the back: Which side will you skitter next ?! Over the years I have hit the house centipede whenever the incident occurred, until I learned that they are tiny killers who eat other invited guests, such as bedbugs and cockroaches, who will harm me or eat my food. If I were a medieval king, the centipede of the house would be my youngest champion, sending fast intruders into the stillness of the night.

It’s impossible to live without bugs. They always climb, hide or enter the sanctity of our home and eat and flock. And removing them is an endless battle, with each bug asking for a flash decision in answer to the biggest, most perplexing question of human existence: Smooth, or not? If I see a bug crawling near my food in my kitchen, I am often interested in a smoothie. In other rooms, I prefer to forgive bugs. Mosquitoes, however, I always smush sight.

But I now have an open door policy for house centipedes (which are not insects but more closely related to lobsters than arthropods, beetles). They’re one of the best roommates I’ve ever had, probably because they’re unable to be passive-aggressive in a group chat or vomit in the kitchen sink. So I think it’s my moral duty to share what I’ve learned about the centipede in the house, to dilute any latent distractions in the body of its feet, and even to instill in you a sense of kinship with an animal that is probably your roommate. If you live in the United States.

Who is this little guy?

House centipede Scotig’s coleoptrata There are 30 segmented legs, which seems to me to be a completely reasonable number of legs (no matter what their names may indicate, no centipedes have exactly 100 feet.) Melted into maturity. Unlike the feet of other centipedes, the last part of the foot of each centipede in the house is prehensile, capable of enclosing and holding something. “It’s like a curved straw,” said Matt Barton, an entomologist who runs the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic at North Carolina State University.

Credit: Matt Burton
Just like a curved straw!

But these legs are not made for walking at all. Derek Henen, a research fellow at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, said:

The antennae of the spider protruding from the back of the centipede in the house are actually a pair of modified legs that can be twice as long as its body. These are, quite deservedly, called the “final legs” of the centipede. According to a 2017 study published in the journal, scientists have suggested that house centipedes use their final legs as a sensitive appendage, holding high and only touching the ground in a “probing” manner. Pierre.

Just below the head, there is a pair of fangs in the centipede of the house which are also highly altered legs. (If you like Is it a cake?You will love What is it?) Which is called forceps, these legs are like pincers and make the centipede a powerful predator: able to catch prey and inject with venom. So the centipede uses its locomotive legs to run to the prey, use its forceful legs to stab and kill the prey, and use their final legs to grasp what could happen behind them. “They’ll eat whatever they can get their feet on,” Burton said.

What’s their deal?

Near the centipede of a house, the average suburban home is a fact Sizzler’s buffet. In a study published in 2016 Pierre, Burton and colleagues surveyed the biodiversity of arthropods living in 50 homes in North Carolina and found that each home contained an average of about 100 morphospaces, meaning species that could be distinguished from their appearance. These include speck-shaped housemates like dust, as well as larger, more intrusive housemates such as drain-absorbing moth flies, spit spiders, silverfish and cockroaches — all of which are sent within reach and are quickly swallowed by home centipedes. “They’re like cheetahs in the arthropod world,” Burton said. “They run really fast and jump on their prey,”

What can this little guy do to me?

House centipedes are often overlooked because they are nocturnal. But if you flick your light and see a wall or ceiling, the centipede of the house will probably move away from you. “They’re very scared,” Burton said. “They would rather get out of the situation than risk killing.” They don’t want to be felt by people, because we are big and threatening and often try to kill them terribly with shoes.

House Centipede can certainly perceive us. Most centipedes have simple eyes called oscilloscopes, which are able to detect light from darkness. But in the sequence of centipedes, the scutigiromorpha, which contains the house centipedes, have compound eyes: black gems with faces that look like small speakers. “They have beautiful eyes,” Henen said. Perhaps when a centipede in a house looks at us with its shiny black eyes, it too is terrified to see the animal.

Credit: Matt Burton
A centipede in a house is eating roche.

What can I do for this little guy?

This is the thing. If a centipede in a room suddenly comes down from my roof and shakes gently across my skin, I will probably scream and shake or shake it. But the centipede of a house never landed on me, never even came close to touching me, and probably never will. So, recently, I’ve been trying to train my brain to release the fear associated with her dozens of eyelids. I have tried to appreciate the beauty of the house.

If you want to try it, Henen recommends controlled exposure: dealing with the fear of centipede indoors in small doses that may increase over time. “Check out some pictures online,” Henen said. “Think, ‘If I can count these legs, it’s not too much.’ Some of which boast of vibrant colors and live in dense jungles, probably far from you Home. And finally, you can stick a room centipede in a tupperware and try to turn it around. “They clean their antennas a lot,” Henen added proudly.

Personally, I find it very helpful to see Centipede’s facial photos. Its big black eyes and fan-like legs have become more and more popular over time, even — I dare say it! ন্দরbeautiful. “They’re not these little monsters running around with bad intentions towards humans,” Henen said. “They’re animals, just like dogs or birds.”

Some neighbors come and go, but others fill themselves up (like the fruit fly mayasma that hover over my collar every summer). I believe that facing a centipede in a house is a good sign. It’s a sign that, without even asking, someone has come to help with the dirty work of living inside – sending a roach or mosquito that you would otherwise have to deal with and kill yourself. You are never truly alone, but at least you are in good company.

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