Hawaii Biological Survey's


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37. Giant Centipede / kanapi

O, the lowly centipede. The scourge of everyone in Hawai‘i. On the mainland, everyone hates rattlesnakes. Here, everyone hates centipedes. It slithers and has way too many legs, so let’s kill it! What’s up with these beasts, anyway?

Centipedes are found in most of world’s tropics, and it is possible they have been here as long as Hawai‘i has been inhabited by humans. Long enough for us to have gotten along, you’d think ... but NO!

Centipedes, like rattlesnakes, are predators. They hunt for most anything that is smaller than them, such as cockroaches, crickets, and even other centipedes — they can even devour geckos! They have large muscular modified front legs with poisonous fangs at the tips. They bite and paralyze their prey and use many of their legs to trap the unfortunate little morsel while they munch away.

Centipedes are normally found outside in cool, shady places, but sometimes make their way into houses where they are not welcome at all! Just know that they are shy and would rather run away from you than try and attack you. . . . . . Doesn’t work does it? We’ll still hate them . . . . .

   Photo by Gordon Nishida