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You are watching: Why do centipedes have so many legs


While centi means 100 legs, centipedes deserve to have everywhere from 10 come 300 legs. The exact variety of legs will rely on species, age, human body size, and also body segments.

Many varieties of centipedes grow an ext legs as they get older.

In general, larger centipedes have more legs than smaller sized centipedes. You have the right to expect centipedes to have actually at least 15 legs, and the many common species have approximately 40 legs.

Further, the more body segment the centipede has, the more legs it will certainly have.


Centipedes and also millipedes belong come the subphylum the arthropods dubbed ‘Myriapoda.’ Myriapoda is a Greek word that means “countless feet.”

Myriapods have the body framework of a head attached come a segmented human body with countless legs.

Both centipedes and millipedes use their segmented bodies to move their method into holes, cracks, and crevices.

They wiggle their method into corners to protect against danger and seek shelter.

Because centipedes have segmented bodies, they need countless legs to relocate around.


There space many varieties of centipedes and also millipedes, many of which room not however discovered.

Today scientists have discovered and classified 3,000 types of centipedes, however they suppose there to be around 8,000 species of centipede in the world.

Likewise, researchers expect over there to be around 80,000 species of millipedes in the wild.

Both of these details genus of animals are well-known for having numerous legs. In greek, their subphylum class method “countless feet”.

Centipedes generally have in between 30 and 100 legs, when millipedes deserve to have an ext legs than centipedes. Millipedes deserve to have between 50 and 250 legs depending on the species.


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The giant centipede frequently has in between 50 and 54 legs. They have tendency to have between 25 and also 27 segments and also one pair the legs per segment.

Compared come the various other centipedes on this list, the giant centipede is very carnivorous. It additionally typically the reason of most crashes or bites through humans.

The gift of the large centipede is not deadly to humans but can cause severe pain and also some other skin irritations.

Giant centipedes can prosper to be as much as 12 inch long. They deserve to vary in color however can have actually dark green, dark brown, light brown, and also yellow hues.

They are fairly easy come identify due to their large size and also ominous wade speed.

One distinctive feature is the they exhibition tergite heteronomy. This way that segments 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and also 19 are shorter than the other segments on their body.


Millipedes and also centipedes are frequently confused since they space both arthropods with numerous legs. 

They have the right to be challenging to distinguish if you don’t recognize what you looking for. 

Here space some key differences in between millipedes and also centipedes.

Segments: Millipedes have two pairs of legs every segment, and also centipedes have actually one pair that legs per segment.Shape: Millipedes are more cylindrical and also round around their body, while centipedes room flat. Leg Position: Millipede’s legs room positioned straight under their body, if centipedes have their foot on the next of your body. Defense Mechanism: Millipedes coil up and release a smelly secretion as soon as they feeling threatened, when centipedes will shot to bite or run away quickly.Bites: Millipedes nothing bite, when centipedes deserve to bite and also are venomous come most pets but harmless come humans.

Most millipedes have roughly 300 legs. The exact variety of legs will count on the particular species similar to centipedes.

Millipedes tend to have an ext legs than centipedes since they have two legs every segment 보다 a single pair the legs per segment.

They also tend to have an ext legs because millipedes have more segments on their body.

Most millipedes have around 75 segments, yet some varieties can have an ext than 150 segments.

There are a couple of species that millipedes that have 750 legs and also grow slightly larger than other varieties of millipedes.


One the the most typical insects confused for millipedes or centipedes is the woodlouse.

The woodlouse additionally goes by other names such together snowbug, pillbug, or roly-poly. This insects have 14 legs, are segmented, and also have a round body similar to millipedes.

They are frequently thought to be infant centipedes or millipedes, yet they aren’t. This confusion frequently happened due to the fact that they tend to hide in the same places as millipedes and also centipedes and also are often uncovered hiding under logs, rocks, or beneath the floor together.

Woodlouse aren’t pertained to millipedes or centipedes. They are actually floor crustaceans the breathe utilizing gills.


Spiders nothing look comparable to timeless centipedes, yet they space a common pest that most world experience.

Their eight legs and also fast-moving nature can sometimes reason some confusion.

It’s more likely the they are perplexed with house centipedes. Friend are most likely to discover house spiders and also house centipedes hiding in the exact same locations.


Silverfish are an additional pest the is often confused with home centipedes. 

These insects are fairly the very same size, live in the very same areas, and have comparable colors. 

Silverfish have actually a distinct appearance. They have actually a lengthy elongated teardrop shape.

They have six legs, two long antennae, and also three rear bristles at the finish of their body. These bristles look similar to spikes, but they space not.

They room covered in light to dark grey scales the look prefer armor for battle.

About ¼ inch to ¾ customs longSix foot on the next of your abdomenShiny silver bodiesTwo long antennaThree behind bristles – one at the center and one on every side.

Earwigs are fairly easy come distinguish since they nothing resemble any other species found in homes. In part cases, they can be puzzled with silverfish or house centipedes but upon closer inspection, lock are fairly easy to differentiate. 

Earwigs have

Flattened bodies Long, bead-like antenna2 big pincers in ~ the end of your abdomen ¾ that an inch long Redish-brown shade – abdomen has tendency to be a dark red-brown color. The thorax has tendency to it is in a lighter brown color. Small heads have tendency to have actually a red-brown color. Earwig nymphs look specifically like adults except they Wing pads between their thorax and abdomen

Pauropods space very little insects that resemble centipedes. The biggest difference is the they are just 0.5 to 1.5mm long. 

Similar come centipedes they room segmented. Adults generally have 8 to 11 segments. They typically have around between 9 and 11 bag of legs. 

They also can it is in mistaken for smaller types of centipedes due to their comparable movement, hiding places, and also speed. 

To tell lock apart you can use your size and also color to identify them. First, the smallest centipede is approximately 10mm and also most are about 1 come 2 inches long. 

The 2nd is the color. Pauropods are usually white or tan while centipedes are typically dark or light brown. 


Forty-two legs space the many common number of legs the a centipede will certainly have.

This is mainly since the many widely distributed centipedes in the United claims tend come have approximately 21 come 23 segments.

With one pair that legs per segment, this would leave centipedes with between 42 and 46 legs.


No, there room no types of centipede with only six legs. The least amount the legs for an adult centipede is 15. Because that young centipedes, some deserve to have as small as ten legs yet will grow more legs as they molt.

If you see pest with six legs, it’s much more likely a spider, woodlouse, or most other usual household insects.


No, over there is no varieties of centipede with 100 legs.

The main reason for the it’s physical impossible.

Centipedes have the right to only have an odd variety of segments. V each segment having actually one pair of legs, they deserve to only have actually 98 legs or 102 legs.

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