Giant "horrific-looking" first amphibious centipede discovered


The world's first amphibious centipede has just been confirmed. It swims, and unlike other centipedes who hunt on land, this one hunts in water. It has super long legs to help it swim and, like all centipedes, is carnivorous. It also has a powerful bite, causing excruciating pain.

The discovery started in 2001, when entomologist George Beccaloni from the National History Museum in London was on his honeymoon in Thailand. He turned over a rock near a stream, and was surprised at what he found. According to National Geographic:

“It was pretty horrific-looking: very big with long legs and a horrible dark, greenish-black color,” he says. When Beccaloni lifted the rock it was hiding under, the centipede immediately escaped into the stream, rather than into the forest. It ran along the stream bed underwater and concealed itself under a rock.

With some difficulty, Beccaloni captured the centipede and later put it in a large container of water. He says it immediately dove to the bottom and swam powerfully like an eel, with horizontal undulations of its body. When he took the centipede out of the container, the water rolled off its body, leaving it totally dry.

Beccaloni brought the centipede back to the museum, where it was kept all these years, without further study. Then recently, another scientist from the Natural History Museum in London took a trip to Laos with his student from Thailand, and they discovered two more of these amphibious centipedes. A DNA test proved that they were indeed a new species, which they named Scolopendra cataracta, which means "waterfall" in Latin. Read the rest

Centipede is beautiful, crazy

Entomologist Piotr Naskrecki found this fantastic centipede hiding under the smushy bark of a fallen log in Mozambique. You can see more photographs of it, and read more about its discovery at his blog, The Smaller Majority.

What makes this centipede particularly interesting (besides that great handlebar moustache it's sporting) is the long, fuchsia appendages on its rear end, each one topped with a feathery, yellow bit, like a flag on a pole. According to Naskrecki, nobody knows what those appendages are for. They seem to have evolved from the animal's rear-most legs, but their function is a total mystery.

Via Why Evolution is True Read the rest