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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 19:30 EDT

Common Desert Centipede, Scolopendra polymorpha

The Common Desert Centipede (Scolopendra polymorpha), also known as the Tiger Centipede, Banded Desert Centipede, or Sonoran Desert Centipede, is a species of centipede indigenous to the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, and up to the Pacific Coast. Its habitat includes dry grasslands, forest and desert, where it will usually take up residence under rocks or burrow into rotten logs or other suitable environments.

This centipede reaches lengths of 4 to 7 inches. Its coloration is varied, hence the scientific species name “polymorpha,” which means “many forms.” Because of its variable coloration, it is sometimes referred to as the multi-colored centipede.

The body segments have one dark lateral stripe, which gives rise to the common name “tiger centipede.” This species generally has a darker brown, red, or orange colored head and lighter brown, tan, or orange body segments with yellowish legs. Its antennae have 7 or more smooth segments.

Image Caption: Common Desert Centipede, Scolopendra polymorpha. Credit: Matt Reinbold/Wikipedia(CC BY 2.0)

Common Desert Centipede Scolopendra polymorpha