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June 29, 2006

Bat-eating centipede

I "heart" David Attenborough...

Hat tip to Thad.


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The centipede is Scolopendra gigantea. You can get the dope on them eating bats here:

They're natives of S. America, Trinidad and Jamaica. Which brings up a biogeographical question. Assuming they're originally from (evolved in) South America, presence in Trinidad is readily explained as it was repeatedly part of the S. American continent during the ice ages. How did they get to Jamaica though? If they island-hopped their way there, they'd be on other Caribbean islands, but they’re apparently not. Did people bring them to Jamaica? And if so, when? A smaller species, Scolopendra subspinipes lives all over the tropical Pacific and in other parts of the tropics and was introduced to Hawaii before the mid-19th century at least, and may have been brought there by the Polynesians. Could Arawak Indians have brought S. gigantea to Jamaica? At home, all I can do is Google Scholar them. I’ll dig around the abstracting services tomorrow at work, but I bet I won’t find much.

These guys are finding their way into the pet trade. If people brought them to Jamaica, people can bring them to other islands, just as people have spread S. subspinipes. It would be a shame if they wind up colonizing places where they don’t belong.
Here’s one that appeared in someone’s living room in England:

great video

I heart YouTube.

Sorry, but centipedes that big are right here in Austin, Tx. They are reclusive, but the UT prof I contacted says he fields about 2 inquiries a year from startled citizens. I encounted one cruising across my front yard a few years ago. It was nearly 10" long but not as red as the Wikipedia example. The are one very primitive but eerily gorgeous creature.

Okay, that just creeped me out. But then I could barely watch the insect scene in (Jackson's) King Kong. I'm a wuss.

I'm not sure I want to live in a world that has 13 inch centipedes.

JibbliesjibbliesjibbliesJIBBLIES! Ugh! Why'd you post that!

I was bit by a cousin when I lived in Arizona. It's not so venomous, but I was in pain for a day, until I found that antihistamines counteract the venom. Shake out those clothes when visiting the desert southwest!

Hey Lindsay,


ps just saw that you'll be pinch-hitting for M.B. - cool!

Ewww! That's just wrong! Mammals are a higher form of life than arthropods. If anything, bats should be eating centipedes, not the other way around.

Like sharks never eat people, eh? ;-)

Personally, it was when the centipede crawled over the seething mass of bugs ... ewwwww

I just found one of these in my sink in Grenada, West Indies. I'll post a video at

These centipedes are amazing! At one moment they are completely docile and you think you can take a closer look. In an instant, they are moving extremely fast, almost snakelike and are almost impossible to control!

I just got bit by one of these centipedes in Jamaica two days ago(dec 28th) in the grass. It was dark and I did not know what bit me but the locals told me it was a centipede by the two bitee marks, which are 1/2 inch wide so im not sure how big this makes my bug, but it freaking hurt for a day. It drew blood and looked like fang marks.

The original chiropteraphagous centipede video was taken off youtube for copyright reasons. It can still be found here though. - I'd forgotten that the poor bat gets it right in the face.

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