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S. coleoptrata is 25 mm (1 in) to 50 mm (2 in) in length and has up to 15 pairs of remarkably long legs. These delicate legs are attached to a rigid body. This enables it to reach surprising speeds of up to 0.4 meters per second (1.3 ft/s) running across floors, up walls and along ceilings. Its body is yellowish-grey and has three dark dorsal stripes running down its length; the legs also have dark stripes. Unlike most other centipedes, house centipedes and their close relatives have well-developed, faceted eyes. S. coleoptrata has developed automimicry in that its hind legs present the appearance of antennae. When the centipede is at rest, it is not easy to tell its front from its back.