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Hawaiian Centipede

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  • December 2009
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The Hawaiian centipede has a unique physical structure, dwells in a wet/dark habitat, and has a caring yet volatile reproductive cycle. This creature is an introduced species to Hawaii but has propapated itself here for about 79 years. Our environment is an ideal home for its physical, physiological, and reproductive needs. Though they are not the cuddliest animals around they are vivacious survivors with astounding characteristics. The centipede’s body is well suited for its home. Its 21-23 pairs of legs on its segmented body, enable it to hide and climb to suitable hiding spots. It uses its sharp feet to cut into wherever it climbs such as trees, walls, and even people’s legs. It has a pseudo head so that predators attack the wrong side of its body and gives the centipede time to attack or run. The centipede is able to swing its body over its other half and use its real head to sting its prey. Centipedes have adapted from ocean-dwelling creatures to skillful land-dwelling ones. Another unique feature is its ability to absorp water through its belly. Since centipedes don’t have mouths their underside acts as a sponge to meet its needs. They typically make their homes in damp places and rarely venture out during the day because they would dehydrate. Cracks, concrete, holes in wood and under rocks; which are all dark and damp, is where they can be found. Female centipedes are caring mothers but deadly sexual partners. They procreate either by aritificial insemination, or by mating directly with another centipede. The most common method is the female retrieves a sac, left by the male, and inseminates herself. If the two centipedes meet, the male and female entwine together for up to 24 hours. After breeding, the female typically kills the male. In either case, the female is the babies’ primary caregiver and stays with her young until after their first molt. The ferocious centipede has an opportune habitat in Hawaii and continues to flourish. Although we see them...

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