Sep 23, 2007

Purple Mark and Tons of Legs

I have never encountered one of these, for which I am very, very grateful. You're looking at a top view of the house centipede.

Poor Victorya has been besieged by a swarm of these monstrous pests in her Manhattan apartment. Though Victorya is happy to let spiders share her pad, she has no such inclination when it comes to the house centipede. As she put it, when you smash one it leaves a "purple mark and tons of legs stuck to the wall." Yummy.

Keep up the good fight, Victorya. We're all rooting for you. I hope purple matches your decorating scheme.

Thanks for the photo, Victorya.

Photo source: University of Nebraska

22 comments:

bonnie-ann black said...

oh, yuch... gack! i get these in my bath tub in my bronx apartment sometimes and it totally freaks me out (and i am not a woman easily freaked out)... i admonish the cats all the time -- get those... things! but do they? no. they're freaked out by them too.

Andie said...

The dorm I lived in my freshman year at an unnamed state university in the Northeast was craw-ling with those things. When we'd watch movies, no one would sit on the floor because the little creepers would pop out of no where. They're also somewhat translucent, adding to their "ick" factor. The urban legend was that they were only found in that dorm and no where else in the world (obviously not true). Oddly enough, I never saw one on any other part of campus.

Jack Ruttan said...

I see maybe one or two a year, but I'm now ambivalent about them, because they eat far worse but less showy pests such as bedbugs and cockroaches.

Anonymous said...

OK...I have a story about one of these. I am very near-sighted, but I do not wear my glasses when I shower. I saw what I thought to be a glob of hair in the drain after I was done. I got a tissue and picked it up. I noticed there was an odd crunch, so I put the tissue within mere inches of my face (no glasses, remember) to investigate. Sure enough, all I saw was a mass of quivering legs. I almost lost it. I have been terrified of these things ever since. I have no problem with spiders, but these...ugh. Fortunately, I only ran into them when I was living in an older house. Since I've moved, no problems! They supposedly are beneficial to have around (eat the bad bugs) but I can do without.

Carol Rose said...

I haven't had the pleasure of meeting one of these guys in a long time, but I do remember they make a creepy "crunch" if you step on them. That creeps me out more than just about anything, except perhaps the legs -- the LEGS!

Laura said...

Why must they have SO MANY LEGS?! Eew...

pkeli said...

I've been waiting for one of these suckers to show up here. I am almost phobically terrified of house centipedes. I had to live with a few of them in my last apartment and one (I'll never forget) was a good two inches long and half an inch high. He cast a shadow on the wall. I shot him with bug spray but I almost had to call in sick that day I was such a quivering wreck...Even looking at this photo makes me shudder.

Jamie said...

I had one of these in my shower. We washed it down the drain, but it climbed right back out, like some sort of movie monster.

ZantiMissKnit said...

I was horribly grossed out by them until I learned that they eat other bugs. Also, I saw a photo close-up of one's face and it was pretty ugly-cute.

Nat said...

ew ew ew ew. These are so gross. The first one I encountered was hidden in my bathrobe and decided to crawl up my leg. AAAAAAHHHHHH. These are easily my greatest fear. Luckily I haven't seen one in a few months. ew.

Anonymous said...

I'm not scared of bugs or spiders or creepy crawlies in general, but those things are EVIL! I don't know why they are evil, maybe it's the legs, or the high speed at which they scurry across the room at you, or the before and aft antennae which look like pincers from a distance. Whatever it is, I think I'll wash my own sheets to keep the bed bugs away, thank you very much.

ColbyWolf said...

You call that a centipede? pah! :)

Google around for 'Scolopendra subspinipes' and you'll see what *I* grew up with.

here's a video too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-f-Yfoq63U

Arachnophile said...

Yeah, this leggy baby has turned up on "What's That Bug?" more than once, I'm pretty sure. I can't remember exactly what they are but they are generally predatory (to other 'bugs'), which really does mean they are beneficial.

That being said, as much as I love our arthropod friends, I'm not sure how well I'd handle a plague of them in my apartment.

My sympathies Victorya, but try to appreciate that they are generally harmless, even in large numbers... Eep, not nice, admittedly.

Jessica said...

We moved to Indiana last year, and that was my first encounter with those things. Ick. They gross me out. Luckily, we moved, and I haven't seen any in here yet.

Ugh, just looking at that picture freaks me out.

Victorya said...

Purple doesn't go with my decor, nor does 'lots of long little leggy'

Here's a hint of how bad - I cleaned out the closet, found my old (musical) keyboard and the babies were nice and nesty in the speakers and between keys.

They can live for up to seven years.

Granted, I have seldom seen a roach in my apt., but I'm debating the occasional roach to the weekly centipede sighting. Roaches know to not run up the wall in the bathroom while you're doing the morning constitutional. Plus, my spiders have done a good job with the roaches and flies - they have a couple webs I let be and sometimes see the odd flying buzzing thing in them.

Oh yeah, and centipedes do bite, roaches don't.

zhimbo said...

These things freak me the #$!% out, but my wife apparently hadn't seen these growing up. When I would talk about centipedes and how I hated them, she thought I was talking about millipedes (which have short legs, and move slowly, and are reasonably cute as arthropods go).

One day I make an un-manly noise and step out of the bathroom to collect myself, and my wife rolls her eyes when I tell her I was startled by a centipede. She says "Oh please, I'll go take care of it for you", patronizingly. She goes in...

...short pause while she looks for it...

And she comes rushing out, hopping up and down, making little yelping noises, shuddering.

It helped me salvage my manhood a little bit.

Alexis said...

Oh, these are my absolute least favorite creepy-crawlies. We used to have them in our dorms at my college (they were dubbed "Barclay Beasts" in honor of one particularly infested dorm) and I've seen a few in my Brooklyn apartment. They love damp areas and piles of paper and clothing on the floor. My cats have done a decent job of keeping them at bay, but UGH. Hate hate hate them. And I'm not anti-creep-crawly in general. I'm goose-bumpy just looking at the picture.

Theo said...

Disgustingtons!!!!!!!!!!

My friend Jecca calls these "fling-a-legs." I hate them, but they became marginally more charming when I learned that name for them.

Anonymous said...

OH my GOSH. I just moved into an apartment that is crawling with these things. Our cats are rampantly trying to eat them, but I'm afraid they bite. Do they bite at all? Do I have to worry if I step on or near one barefoot?

Nathan said...

WORST. CREATURES. EVER. Hatehatehatehate!

Thanks to Sluggy Freelance, I call them "fluffies."

Anonymous said...

actually, these can be quite helpful. they are vorocious eaters and will nip everything in site.

also, they cannot penetrate human skin, so they cannot bite you. a house that is less than 3 months old in the US will have swarms of these critters.

get used to it, you can't get rid of them.

OmegaV said...

hahaha, I have seem a couple of these mutant creatures on my Manhattan Apt too, I was freaked out I saw the first one and actually yesterday I saw one and sprayed bug killer to know what it is, I just putted on google "weird insects in NYC many legs" and this page came out, thanks guys know I know what it is and now I can be more quite cuz they are "harmless" XD....