: any member of the class Chilopoda of long flattened many-segmented predaceous arthropods with each segment bearing one pair of legs of which the foremost pair is modified into poison fangs
Illustration of CENTIPEDE
Centipede (genus Scolopendra).—E.S. Ross
Any of about 2,800 species (class Chilopoda) of long, flattened, many-segmented arthropods having one pair of legs on each segment except the hindmost. Centipedes remain under stones, bark, and ground litter by day; at night they prey on other small invertebrates. They move rapidly on 14–177 pairs of legs and have one pair of long, many-jointed antennae and a pair of jawlike, venomous claws just behind the head. The 1-in. (2.5-cm) house centipede of Europe and North America is the only species common in dwellings. The largest centipedes, found in the tropics, may grow as long as 11 in. (28 cm) and can inflict severe bites.