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Arizona giant centipede (female with eggs)

Scolopendra heros arizonensis


S. heros has an average length of 6.5 inches (170 mm), but can reach up to 8 in (200 mm). Its trunk bears 21 or 23 pairs of legs. It is aposematically colored, to warn off potential predators, and a number of color variants are known in the species


S. heros is found in northern Mexico and the southern United States, from New Mexico and Arizona in the west, to Arkansas and Missouri in the east. It remains underground on warm days, emerging in cloudy weather.


Sorry for the subpar images. I was shooting into a small tank while trying to avoid disturbing her. This specimen was spotted at Tulsa Zoo & Living Museum.

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48 Comments (1–25)

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 5 years ago


drpalombella 11 years ago

Wow! Absolutely amazing! Definitely not gross. If anything, it looks like a super-fancy hors-d'ouvre.

Aaron_G 12 years ago

Not gross at all! :-) Centipede females are great moms, cleaning and protecting their eggs until they hatch.

Thanks for the link to those photos, Chime. What an outstanding find! :-)

ChimeTsetan 12 years ago

Congrats Goody for the SOTD. :) Beautiful picture. Its a lovely find which I have missed back in Chennai. I saw a mother centipede with her hatchlings still clinging on to her like ball of small white centipedes. Maybe they were not ready to leave the nest. :) Check it out.

CarolSnowMilne 12 years ago

Crazy!! Cool! Kind of gross, but good one!

Liam 12 years ago

Incredible! Congrats!

Maria dB
Maria dB 12 years ago

Very nice - congratulations!

Harsha Singh
Harsha Singh 12 years ago

Amazing. Congrats.

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 12 years ago

Congratulations Goody !

Reza Hashemizadeh
Reza Hashemizadeh 12 years ago

Congratulations Goody on a very well deserved Spotting of the Day :)

KeithRoragen 12 years ago

Nice one Goody.

LuisStevens 12 years ago

Congrats Goody

KarenL 12 years ago

Well done Aaron! A worthy SOTD!

Aaron_G 12 years ago

Ashish, I have added this to your mission. Thanks for alerting me to it!

DigantaGogoi 12 years ago


williefromwi 12 years ago

wonderful information and series, Goody

Atul 12 years ago

great spot ! congrats!

Aaron_G 12 years ago

Thank you all for the kind words. Being the critical guy I am, I wish I could have taken better photos of this event. :-)

Marta, centipede moms roll around their eggs to cradle and protect them. During the incubation process they constantly groom the eggs with their mouthparts, keeping them free of debris and fungus. They remain curled around them the entire time and only move on when they have hatched and crawl free on their own. Sometimes a disturbance will cause her to gobble up the eggs, but other times it's believed they are consumed because they are known to be infertile. She will gain back the energy she lost by laying them, which could prove to be important because she may not eat for weeks while protecting her eggs.

LarryGraziano 12 years ago

Cognrats Goody!!! Lovely series!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 12 years ago

Congrats Goody. Super photos.

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 12 years ago

What a fantastic spotting and photo, Goody. Congrats.

Gerardo Aizpuru
Gerardo Aizpuru 12 years ago

Congratulations Goody what a spotting and photo:):)

Small Wonders
Small Wonders 12 years ago

Nice spot :)

OnengDyah 12 years ago


The MnMs
The MnMs 12 years ago

Does the centipede stays guarding her eggs or was she rolled over them just while she was laying them?

Spotted by

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Spotted on Apr 18, 2012
Submitted on Apr 23, 2012

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