Thursday, March 17, 2011

Creature Feature: Scolopendra gigantea.

Centipedes are one of those bugs that freak non-entomologists right the fuck out. Most people kill them on sight, knowing full well that they are poisonous or just because they're centipedes. They are not overgrown pillbugs like millipedes (at first glance); one look and you know that a centipede is nasty. Out of all the designs in Pokemon Gen V, NOBODY would expect a giant centipede to be popular.


For whatever reason, Scolipede, a deer-centipede hybrid, has stolen the hearts of people who do not ordinarily like bugs. It has a design reminding us that Poison can actually be a pretty cool type, has awesome stats, and goshdarnit, myriapods deserved something better-looking than Drapion. If only more Pokemon players knew that real Scolopendra gigantea were just as popular with arthropod fans.

Scolopendra gigantea is exactly what it sounds like: A giant centipede. It can grow up to 12 inches (30 cms) long.  S. gigantea is native to South America (specifically Peru and other northwestern countries) and Jamaica, Trinidad, and Hispaniola. If the next Pirates movie features giant centipedes, you know why.

All centipedes are carnivorous, but S. gigantea exists to remind us that centipedes were once giant land terrors. It is one of the rare centipedes that eats vertebrates at every meal. Frogs, lizards, birds, rodents, and even three distinct species of bat are all on the menu.


S. gigantea does, of course, have a potent venom cocktail designed to work on things with spinal cords. Those pincer-like claws, officially called forcipules, deliver a mix of numbing chemicals (including serotonin, histamine, and acetycholine), proteases, and a cardiodepressant. Victims feel chills, fever, and weakness after being bitten. Not fatal, but still sucks.

People who keep giant centipedes as pets have got some serious balls. Feedings can be pretty darn intense; as with falcons and snakes, one likely needs to handle dead rodent carcasses. Even a single drop of venom on one's skin can cause a reaction, so wear protection when handling one. A giant centipede is still of the better venomous animals to keep as a pet.

Now, if you will excuse us, we have a killer Scolipede to train.

Tomorrow: By the way, what's Remoraid based off of?



  2. wear protection?!!?! You got that thing crawling on your bare arm!!!!

  3. You must get your underwear made specially to fit your HUGE cojonnes!

  4. I have no problem handling cobras, rattlesnakes tarantulas etc but there's something about scolopendras that gives me the creeps. I've held one running up and downon a stick but even that made me nervous, although it was a very highly venomous species in Borneo.

  5. the only bug or what ever i get chilled when ever i get near a giant centipede. but i am not afraid of snakes, tarantulas, scorpions which are more venomous than centipede.i think i am getting nervous because they(centipedes) r fasttt!!!