Sunday, 14 March 2010

Scuties

Anyone who lives in an old stone French house is undoubtedly living with scuties. Or as they are more properly known, Scutigera coleptera, the Common House Centipede.

They are fearsome looking beasts, with 15 pairs of very long banded legs and an even longer pair of antennae. They live in the dark, humid crevices, coming out at night to hunt spiders, silverfish, cockroaches and fly larvae. They are venomous, with the first pair of legs modified into fangs. If they manage to bite you, it is painful and the flesh surrounding the wound swells and goes purple, like some spider bites do.

Immature scuties have fewer legs, starting off with just 4 pairs. As they grow they moult their exoskeleton, and each time, they gain a few more pairs of legs until they are adult, after the fifth moult. They move very fast. The hindlegs are twice as long as the front legs, which allows them to cross over and beyond, preventing the scutie from ending up in a tangled ball of legs.


Susan

6 comments:

chm said...

In the first picture, before you enlarge it, it seems that adorable beast has got antennae at both ends!

In the second picture, isn't that lovely creature on its back?

Autolycus said...

scary looking - but it sounds like a convenient sort of pest control: or is it?

Leon and Sue Sims said...

Waz looking forward to a glass of plonk until I saw that angry beast...Only Jokin' Cya soon.
Sue & Leon

Jean said...

Ugly little blighters. Thanks for the tip. I don't fancy being bitten so will give it a wide berth if I see one.

Simon said...

our internet is a bit...... well, rubbish is the politest way to describe it. It sort of works (in spurts) but wont let us connect to yahoo (for our emailss) any of our email servers, or blogger (to write a new post) or to read anyone else's posts.

Why it lets us connect to this I am not sure!

I have been bitten by a scootie (18 months ago). It isn't fun.

Susan said...

CHM: it's sort of using the roof of it's hidey hole to climb back into the wall.

Auty, Jean, Leon: yes, I think the benefits outway the very small risk of being bitten. They are not agressive and often are not strong enough to break human skin anyway. They will bite in self-defense, for instance if you reach into their space and they feel threatened.