Why Do Centipedes Have So Many Legs?

Have you just ever stared at a centipede and wondered why it has so many legs? Well, we have. When you stare at a centipede you might get a little creeped out because of how many tiny legs it has, and you aren’t wrong. We all get a little creeped out at the sight of those tiny little legs. Now have you ever wondered why exactly they have so many. After all, they aren’t the only insects that have more than four legs. You get spiders that have six legs, and we are pretty sure there are a few more unknown insects with more than six legs. But back to the centipede.

 

A creepy and venomous looking black and red centipede

Getty images/Moment/John McKeen

 

Here is a fun fact you may not know about. Centipedes can actually have up to 100 legs. That’s right, so when you spot one and think that it has way too many legs you aren’t wrong. Now what you don’t know is that not all centipedes have 100 legs. There are actually very few centipedes that have 100 legs. Many of them have just under 100 legs and some of them have over 100 legs. Now even though it may look like centipedes have hundreds of legs, there are actually some that have as few as 15 legs. Now isn’t that some food for thought?

 

Centipedes have so many legs because they are metameric animals. This simply means that their bodies are divided into segments. Each segment of a centipede’s body is completely identical to the other. You should know that centipedes belong to the subphylum ‘Myriapoda family. This is the same family as millipedes. Now centipedes don’t only have many legs for no reason. They actually use their legs for a number of different reasons. This includes wiggling into different spaces and holes. They also use their legs to hide away from anything that might harm them.

 

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