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Breeding Centipedes

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by Gillian Pajor, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Gillian Pajor

    Gillian Pajor Arachnosquire

    I was thinking into getting breeding Centipedes but I have no information on HOW to do it. I tried looking it up online but there is just a bunch of random things that have nothing to do with what I am looking for. Can anyone help me find a link, forum, write in comments or something where I can learn more about this?
  2. LawnShrimp

    LawnShrimp Arachnoangel Active Member

    First of all, posting in the "Myriapods" board would be a better place to start.

    Breeding centipedes is fairly difficult and comes at a risk to both keeper and animal.

    Most species of pet centipede are very aggressive, even to members of their own kind. To ensure that two males or two females are not put together, centipedes must be sexed. Sexing centipedes is quite difficult, as the sexes of most species look identical: A centipede must be knocked unconscious through placing it in a jar of water with a lid until it stops moving, or creating a sealed chamber in which to flood with CO2. (Both methods are risky and have resulted in deaths of centipedes and very painful bites for the keeper.) Then, the fourth-to last segment must be pressed firmly and the finger moved towards the last segment, like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. Then, a white, creased structure will be everted from the centipede’s end. If it has two small spines (spinnerets), it is a male; if it is otherwise smooth, it is a female. The centipede will wake up in less than five minutes, so it is recommended that you take a picture to analyze the genitals before replacing the centipede in its enclosure.

    Once you have a female and a male of similar size and are both of breeding age (over 2-3 years is safe, or very close to maximum size), they can be put into a large container. It must have substrate and several hides. At least one hide has to have an overhang; a good method to create this is to find several small objects like stones to place under a flat object like a sheet of slate or bark, so that the flat object is high enough off the ground for both centipedes to enter it. Once male and female are introduced to the enclosure, they will either run away from each other, attack each other(most common if the specimens differ greatly in size or are very hungry), or begin a breeding chase. In the breeding chase the antennae of one will entwine around the terminal legs of the other, and they will follow each other closely in a start-and-stop chase. Depending on the species, they may also touch antennae, lock terminal legs, or clasp each other with their fangs. I do not know how long it takes for the chase to end, but eventually, the male will lead the female under the overhang. He will spin a sticky, clear web connected to the substrate and the underside of the overhang and deposit a white, round spermatophore in the web. He will then exit quickly and the female will move forward until her last segment rests on the spermatophore; she then absorbs it. The pair should be separated so that they do not attack one another after mating.

    The female can be placed in a smaller container to lay eggs, though she can store sperm for a while, perhaps even years, so do not expect eggs right away. (This is why many wild caught females are gravid and lay in captivity.) The yellow to cream eggs will turn into white, round disks, which will molt into white, small nymphs, before molting into a juvenile, which will develop color in about a week. The mother cannot be fed or disturbed from the moment she lays eggs to until her eggs hatch into the last stage, and must be kept somewhere dark where the temperature is constant. Mothers may eat infertile or fertile eggs, first, and second-stage babies, so make sure that she is comfortable. It takes around 2.5-3 months from egg to mobile juvenile.

    (Note: this is only for breeding Scolopendropmorphs, other orders of centipedes are very different.)

    I hope this helped! If you have any questions, ask away.
    • Informative Informative x 3
  3. schmiggle

    schmiggle Arachnoprince Active Member

    Are other orders easier? I believe I've heard of geophilomorph colonies, for example.
  4. LawnShrimp

    LawnShrimp Arachnoangel Active Member

    I assume Geophilomorphs are not very aggressive. Lithobiids are often found in groups in the wild as well. Scutigerids are are hard to breed as they tend to be very cannibalistic and are impossible to sex due to their fragility, but I'm sure with enough trial and error it can be done. The previous three orders are not often kept in captivity so there is a dearth of information. There are even some Scolopendromorphs, such as Rhysida longipes and Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans that can be kept in groups; mating will invariably occur then.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017