The House Centipede Page: Title Page
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U.S.DEPARTMENT- OF AGRICULTURE
Contribution from the Bureau of Entomology, L. O. Howard, Chief.
December 15, 1914.
THE HOUSE CENTIPEDE.1
By C. L. MARLATT,
Entomologist and Assistant Chief of Bureau.
GENERAL APPEARANCE AND HABITS.
The house centipede (fig. 1), particularly within the last 20 or 25
years, has become altogether too common an object in dwelling
houses in the Middle and Northern States for the peace of mind of
the inmates. It is a very fragile creature capable of very rapid
movements, and elevated considerably above the surface upon which
it runs by very numerous long legs. It may often be seen darting
across floors with very great speed, occasionally stopping suddenly
and remaining absolutely motionless, presently to resume its rapid
movements, often darting directly at inmates of the house, particu-
larly women, evidently with a desire to conceal itself beneath their
dresses, and thus creating much consternation. The creature is not
a true insect, but belongs to the Myriapoda, commonly known as
centipedes or "thousand legs," and is sometimes called the "skein"
centipede, from the fact that when crushed or motionless it looks,
from its numerous long legs, like a mass of filaments or threads. It iq
a creature of the damp, and is particularly abundant in bathrooms,
moist closets, and cellars, multiplying excessively also in conservato-
ries, especially about places where pots are stored, and near heating
pipes. In houses it will often be dislodged from behind furniture or
be seen to run rapidly across the room, either in search of food or
concealment. If examined closely its very cleanly habits may occa-
sionally be manifested in that it may be observed to pass its long
legs, one after another, through its mandibles, to remove any adher-
ing dust. Its rather weird appearance, its peculiar manner of loco-
motion, and frequently its altogether too friendly way of approach-
ing people, give it great interest, and with its increasing abundance
in the North, make it a subject of frequent inquiry.
NOTE.-This bulletin is of interest to housewives throughout the United States. It is a reprint of
Bureau of Entomology Circular 48.
1 lcutigera forceps Raf.
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Marlatt, C. L. The House Centipede, pamphlet, 1914; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87583/m1/1/: accessed September 26, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.