Common Name: Giant centipede

Scientific Name: Cormocephalus rubriceps

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Chilopoda

Order: Scolopendromorphs

Family: Scolopendridae

Genus: Cormocephalus

Species: C. Rubriceps

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There are many different kinds of centipedes. The Cormocephalus rubriceps is the scientific name for the "giant centipede". The reason they're called giant centipedes is that they are called "New Zealand's largest native centipede" and they can get to about 20cm long. Their color can be different throughout the population, but usually, they are a gray brown, with some other dark colors too. An interesting thing about this species is that some C. rubriceps are blind. Some though, have a simple eye.
 

These centipedes adapt to their environment by staying in damp places, because they easily dehydrate. They live in places such as damp bark, leaves, soil, and even in houses under the tile. These centipedes do well in this ecosystem because they need the moisture, and they can't go in daylight. C. rubriceps are mostly known for living in New Zealand, in the northern areas. However, anywhere rats are, they do not live, because rats prey on these giant centipedes.
 

There are 600 species of Scolopendromorphas and 80 species of Scutigeromorpha. There is not a sure thing if they are growing or shrinking in population, but they are still finding more species of centipedes. For C. rubriceps, the number of the population has gone down by a lot because of rats. Since these giant centipedes have moved away from rats, the population may have a chance of stabilizing.
 

For centipedes to attack and feed on other organisms, they have poisonous claws that they are able to use for paralyzing their prey. C. rubriceps are the biggest of centipedes, they don't just eat invertebrates, such as worms, and mollusks, they also feed on vertebrates. These giant centipedes are so big, they can feed on birds and frogs. Since they are eating vertebrates, vertebrates also prey on these centipedes as well. C. rubriceps are hunted by big spiders, beetles, and the worst, rats. Rats preying upon C. rubriceps has made the species smaller in population.
 

I thought that the most interesting thing I learned while researching C. rubriceps was the fact that they feed on birds. I even watched a video on the Internet, of a giant centipede, attacking a bat from a cave. By being the biggest centipedes, they seem to be brave and strong. I learned many new things about animals that I never thought possible. C. rubriceps are things that I really want to keep researching.
 

Author: Hunter T
Published: 3/2008
 

Sources: http://soilbugs.massey.ac.nz/chilopoda.php http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormocephalus_rubriceps http://zipcodezoo.com/Animals/C/Cormocephalus_rubriceps.asp
 

Photo Credit: http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/education/insects_spiders/pare/centipede.asp 1996-2008a