Centipedes, despite the fact that the Latin prefix “centi” means ‘hundred,’ do not have 100 legs. They have one pair of legs per body segment, and the total number of legs varies anywhere from about 20 to over 100 (some sources say over 300), depending on the species. They have long, jointed antennae, and most species are carnivorous, making them–on the whole–beneficial (they feed on insects and spiders). Some kinds of centipedes, such as the House Centipede, can live indoors as well as outdoors, so will end up in people’s houses, garages, sheds, etc. Bathrooms, basements (especially if damp), and dark closets, are common places where people would be likely to find them.
- Diamondback Soil Centipedes (BugGuide.net)
- House Centipedes (Penn State)
- Occasional Invaders (includes centipedes) (Univ. of Maryland Extension)