This is the laddie which is not a lithobiid...Oh! no...he's
got a better name than that...how does "scolopendromorph"
grab you...not bad is it.
This group actually includes the largest and most dangerous
centipedes, such as Scolopendra gigantea from tropical
America. This is a big boy and measures in at a foot long...Yeees...12
inches, and it eats mice and toads. But, compared to these giants, our
little cryptops is very insignificant. He measures about 20 to 30 mm
long and little more than 1 mm broad, it is a pale brown animal with
21 pairs of legs. It has no eyes, although it is very active animal
like the lithobiids. The antennae are no more than about a quarter the
length of the body. A single shield or tergite covers the first trunk
segment and the segment bearing the poison claws, so that both the claws
and the front legs appear to spring from the same segment. The tergites
of the trunk segments are all more or less the same size, although there
is a very slight trace of the alternation that is seen in lithobiids.
The legs are relatively short compared with those of the lithobiids
and the animal is not quite so fast. The last pair of legs are much
stouter than the others and they are probably used as offensive or defensive
weapons. Cryptops hortensis is widely distributed,
although not common, in woodlands, fields and gardens in England and
Wales, but it seems to have a particular liking for gardens. The species
is also found in the wild in Ireland, but Scottish records suggest that
it lives there only in association with man. As in the geophilid species,
the female cryptops looks after her eggs and young for a while. The
babies emerge from their eggs with their full quota of legs.
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