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Megarian banded centipede

Megarian banded centipede

This 3D introduces a centipede species widespread in the Mediterranean.

Biology

Keywords

centipede, segmented body, arthropod, egg, toxic, arthropods, segments, segment, arthropod leg, venom gland, gland, animal, biology, predator

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Megarian banded centipede

The Megarian banded centipede inhabits mainly the Mediterranean, but it can also be found in the temperate regions of Europe. Like other centipedes, the Megarian banded centipede prefers damp environments, because its cuticle is not waxy and therefore it does not protect the animal from dehydration.
The Megarian banded centipede moves fast, in a characteristic wave-like pattern.
It is a carnivore, attacking almost any animal that is not larger than itself. Its prey includes insects and small lizards as well. In humans, its bite can cause pain and inflammation of the skin.

Movement

Anatomy

  • length: 6–13 cm
  • antennae - It is found on the first body segment.
  • segmented legs - Each leg terminates in a hook which helps the animal to capture its prey.
  • simple eyes (ocelli)
  • forcipules
  • tergite
  • head shield
  • chewing mouthparts

The Megarian banded centipede has an elongated body which usually consists of 21 segments. Except for the head, these are similar in size. Each segment bears a pair of arthropod legs, while the head has a single pair of antennae.

Its capacity to recover is extraordinary: if it loses a leg or an antenna, it can grow it back.

The first pair of legs, called forcipules, or poison claws, is different from the others: they are pointed and hooked, with a venom gland at the end. The centipede paralyses its prey with the help of these modified legs.

The average length of the Megarian banded centipede varies between 6–13 cm, but specimens measuring up to 17 cm have also been found.

Internal organs

  • brain - It consists of a pair of ganglia.
  • reproductive organ
  • multichamber heart - Centipedes have an open circulatory system. The fluid that circulates in this system is called haemolymph. Haemolymph flows from the multi-chamber heart (found on the dorsal side of the animal) to the head where it flows out the body cavity. From there it reenters the heart through the openings of the chambers. The role of haemolymph is to transport supply cells with nutrients and to remove waste. It does not transport respiratory gases: oxygen is supplied to cells by the tracheal system.
  • salivary gland - Saliva produced by this gland moistens the food and its enzymes start the digestive process.
  • stomach - Its inner surface is lined with chitinous grooves and teeth that help to grind food. The stomach of insects is also called a 'gizzard'.
  • Malpighian tubules - Excretory organs located at the boundary of the midgut and hindgut. The tubules filter the haemolymph that fills the body cavities and release the filtrate into the alimentary canal.
  • hindgut - Malphigian tubules filter the haemolymph that fills the body cavities and release the filtrate into the alimentary canal. Here the nutrients (water, sugar, etc.) are absorbed into the haemolymph, while wastes and toxins are excreted through the anus.
  • accessory glands
  • venom gland
  • reproductive gland

Life cycle

  • egg
  • newly hatched scolopendra
  • young scolopendra
  • adult scolopendra

Megarian banded centipedes reproduce with eggs. The female animal lays approximately 10-50 eggs and guards these, as well as the hatched young, for about 2 months. Newly hatched centipedes differ from the adults only in their colour and the number of their legs. Until reaching the adult size, they moult several times and grows new segments between each moult.

Narration

The Megarian banded centipede inhabits mainly the Mediterranean, but it can also be found in the temperate regions of Europe. Like other centipedes, the Megarian banded centipede prefers damp environments, because its cuticle is not waxy and therefore it does not protect the animal from dehydration.
The Megarian banded centipede moves fast, in a characteristic wave-like pattern.
It is a carnivore, attacking almost any animal that is not larger than itself. Its prey includes insects and small lizards as well. In humans, its bite can cause pain and inflammation of the skin.

The Megarian banded centipede has an elongated body which usually consists of 21 segments. Except for the head, these are similar in size. Each segment bears a pair of arthropod legs, while the head has a single pair of antennae.

Its capacity to recover is extraordinary: if it loses a leg or an antenna, it can grow it back.

The first pair of legs, called forcipules, or poison claws, is different from the others: they are pointed and hooked, with a venom gland at the end. The centipede paralyses its prey with the help of these modified legs.

The average length of the Megarian banded centipede varies between 6–13 cm, but specimens measuring up to 17 cm have also been found.

Megarian banded centipedes reproduce with eggs. The female animal lays approximately 10-50 eggs and guards these, as well as the hatched young, for about 2 months. Newly hatched centipedes differ from the adults only in their colour and the number of their legs. Until reaching the adult size, they moult several times and grows new segments between each moult.

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