Exploring North Carolina’s Centipedes: A Guide to Different Types

North Carolina is home to several species of centipedes, which are elongated arthropods known for their numerous legs and venomous pincers. Here are some common types of centipedes found in North Carolina:

1. House Centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata)

The house centipede is a common species found in homes and buildings across North Carolina. It has long legs and a slender body, typically brown or grayish in color. House centipedes are nocturnal hunters and feed on insects, making them beneficial in controlling household pests.

2. Stone Centipede (Lithobiomorpha)

Stone centipedes are a diverse group of centipedes found in North Carolina. They have a flattened body and short legs compared to other centipede species. Stone centipedes are typically brown or reddish-brown in color and are often found in moist environments like gardens, leaf litter, or under stones.

3. Soil Centipede (Geophilomorpha)

Soil centipedes are elongated and slender centipedes that inhabit soil and leaf litter. They have numerous pairs of legs and can range in color from pale yellow to reddish-brown. Soil centipedes play an important role in soil ecology by contributing to decomposition and controlling populations of small soil-dwelling organisms.

4. Tiger Centipede (Scolopendra polymorpha)

Tiger centipedes, also known as desert centipedes, are large and aggressive species found in the southeastern United States, including North Carolina. They have a distinctive yellowish-brown body with dark bands, giving them a tiger-like appearance. Tiger centipedes are known for their venomous bite and are capable of delivering a painful sting.

5. Bark Centipede (Scutigeromorpha)

Bark centipedes are small centipedes often found in wooded areas and under bark or decaying logs. They have a flattened body and long antennae. Bark centipedes are typically light brown or reddish-brown in color and are considered harmless to humans.

These are just a few examples of the centipede species you may encounter in North Carolina. While centipedes can be beneficial in controlling pest populations, some larger species have venomous bites that may cause pain and discomfort. It’s important to exercise caution and avoid handling centipedes to minimize the risk of being bitten.