Giant Centipede

  • Texas redheaded centipede.
  • Texas redheaded centipede.
  • A Texas sized centipede!

This is a creepy crawler! The giant desert centipede is the largest centipede in North America, with the ability to grow from six to eight inches long! Of course, like all centipedes this species has many legs, usually around 40. Centipede bodies are segmented, with a pair of legs for each segment. If the centipede has 40 legs, with a pair per segment, how many segments does it have total? (*See below for the answer!)

The giant desert centipede is carnivorous and incredibly venomous. Their main prey are other insects, lizards, frogs and rodents. They kill their prey by paralyzing it with their venom, which they inject via a body part called forcipules, located in the jaw region. Centipedes are virtually blind, so they sense their prey through their antennae. Giant desert centipedes are also known for being super fast. They hunt at night, preferring to stay burrowed underground during the hot desert days.

Even though centipedes might give you the heebie-jeebies, they are actually an amazing evolutionary tale. Centipedes were one of the first species to colonize dry land 430 million years ago. Can you believe that! If we think an eight inch centipede is big, imagine coming across an ancient variety! Some could grow to be EIGHT FEET LONG!

For this project, begin by researching other ancient species that evolved and are still in existence today. Try Googling, “world’s oldest species” or “ancient species evolution.” Select a species that stirs your imagination. After learning more about this species and how it evolved over time, recreate it with any material you like! You could draw or paint a picture of it, you could make it 3D with different sculptural materials, or you could create it through collage! Try to select a material that you think is best suited to your creature.