Centipede intelligence

Scoly

Arachnobaron
Joined
Dec 4, 2013
Messages
422
I keep hearing people mention that centipedes are "intelligent". I share that feeling myself, but I was wondering if people here had observed any specific examples of behaviour to support that claim.

I know intelligence is an abstract concept at best, just interested in reading about observations/opinions, or even better, and tests we could put them through.

Thanks!
 

Chris LXXIX

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
5,689
Let's watch this:


Now, according to Homer Simpson's point of view, centipedes are, actually, intelligents.

" See Marge? Centipedes eats beef as well, de hi hi ho ho... vegans. D'oh! "
 

Gren

Arachnopeon
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Messages
9
There is a segment in BBC's Life in the Undergrowth where a centipede crawls up a cave wall and hangs from the ceiling to catch bats. Not sure how one would categorize that but it does demonstrate something.
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
If you are measuring their intelligence by how capable they are of learning complex behaviors that help them obtain food, they're fairly intelligent. They are also fairly capable of differentiating between stimuli if given the chance to learn what they mean.
 

Mastigoproctus

Centiman
Joined
Aug 7, 2015
Messages
272
Look up the YouTube channel "ThePureLife" Most of my focus is uncovering the true nature and behavioral patterns of all species of centipedes, as well as proving they are capable of more complex thought then most other similar invertebrates. I have solidly proven to myself that they can become acclimated to hand interactions without stress, and that in some instances will even seek my hands vs an alternate route because they know they are safe and will get food as a "treat" if you will if they do choose my hand over running. Now I'll need to finish my paper and be peer reviewed for most to accept this though. I think they are like the Cephalopods of the "bug" world, vary intelligent for what they are.
 

Staehilomyces

Arachnoprince
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Mar 2, 2016
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1,447
I think the only rivals pedes face in the arthropod intelligence competition are jumping spiders.
 

Scoly

Arachnobaron
Joined
Dec 4, 2013
Messages
422
There is a segment in BBC's Life in the Undergrowth where a centipede crawls up a cave wall and hangs from the ceiling to catch bats. Not sure how one would categorize that but it does demonstrate something.
Yes, I think that's one of the strongest indicators of intelligence I've seen. I don't think that "climbing to a cave ceiling to catch bats on the wing" can be an ingrained behaviour, they must figure it out. Perhaps it's not an enormous leap: follow smell of mammals, end up on cave ceiling, movement here, stick my head out, catch! But then remembering and repeating that really is something.

Look up the YouTube channel "ThePureLife" Most of my focus is uncovering the true nature and behavioral patterns of all species of centipedes, as well as proving they are capable of more complex thought then most other similar invertebrates. I have solidly proven to myself that they can become acclimated to hand interactions without stress, and that in some instances will even seek my hands vs an alternate route because they know they are safe and will get food as a "treat" if you will if they do choose my hand over running. Now I'll need to finish my paper and be peer reviewed for most to accept this though. I think they are like the Cephalopods of the "bug" world, vary intelligent for what they are.
I follow ThePureLife already ;-) In fact that's partly what brought me back into keeping pedes, and I'm just starting to use those techniques on a very docile A. Chilensis. I love that castaneiceps of yours, I want one just like it! But yes, I think becoming socialised demonstrates a clear change in behaviour, which counts as learning.

I recently read Soul of and Octopus, and there was mention of a study in there to determine whether we could validate the claim that octopuses as having personalities. It was simple things like rating response to being proded by a pencil etc... I'll look it up and post on here.
 

Scolopendra1989

Arachnosquire
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
53
I think centipedes are able to be classically conditioned, which means they at least have some intelligence. I don't think it rivals that of a jumping spider but I would venture to guess they're pretty smart. They're also pretty capable of breaking out of enclosures by recognizing patterns or ingenious methods of breaking out of precisely made containers.
 

Scoly

Arachnobaron
Joined
Dec 4, 2013
Messages
422
There was a video posted to the Scolopendra Legion facebook page recently:


Which shows a centipede being fed a tarantula. Although I didn't like seeing a tarantula being fed to a centipede (which I admit is hypocritical) it's worth looking closely at how the centipede deals with it. In case you can't view it, what happens is this:
- The centipede senses the tarantula and immediately makes for it.
- It first hits some of the tarantula's front legs, which pushes the tarantula back. At this point the centipede seems to realise it is clasping at the legs of something bigger, and perhaps has a sense of the size of its prey (and potentially, based on past history, understands this is a tarantula but we don't know that)
- The centipede brings its back legs round the side, which come into contact with the tarantula's other front legs. Now the centipede has a full grip on the tarantula.
- The centipede tries to find a decent biting point, presumably closer to the body, but can't reach it because it is being pushed back by the tarantula's legs. This means the centipede knows, or presumes, there is a better part of the body to be biting than the legs.
- The centipede lets go of the grip with its front legs, while maintaining grip with its back legs, and goes on the crawl for a better angle. At this point it's head passes under the tarantula's fangs, meaning it hadn't realised these were the bits to avoid (which was counter to my initial impression based on how the video ends) and nearly pays for that mistake. It recovers from its mistake quickly, which it was able to do because it had such a good overall grip, and manages to keep its body out of harm's way. Thereafter it seems quite relaxed as it goes for a bite on the head.

At first I was going to tack this post onto this thread saying how amazed I was that a centipede knows where a tarantula's fangs are. But after re-watching and pausing it many times, it seems it didn't know until it very nearly got bitten.

I think what can be said is that:
  • a) Centipedes understand that legs are not a preferred place to deliver a bite (there also is another experiment which shows statistically that centipedes prefer delivering bites to the head of their prey)
  • b) Centipedes learn what parts of the prey are dangerous to it during the altercation, and are very skillful at keeping those parts under control until they deliver a bite.
I think we should still be careful using words like "know" and "understand". A lot of this could be genetically programmed behaviours such as:
  • A predisposition to treat any part of prey that tries to move towards it as something it should keep itself away from.
  • A predisposition to place a bite on a large central part of this moving object, as opposed to smaller, freer-moving peripheral parts.
All of which give the impression of more intelligent behaviour. Still, it is all rather impressive coming from an animal with such limited vision, and a comparatively small number of neurons.
 

BobBarley

Arachnoprince
Joined
Sep 16, 2015
Messages
1,480
There was a video posted to the Scolopendra Legion facebook page recently:


Which shows a centipede being fed a tarantula. Although I didn't like seeing a tarantula being fed to a centipede (which I admit is hypocritical) it's worth looking closely at how the centipede deals with it. In case you can't view it, what happens is this:
- The centipede senses the tarantula and immediately makes for it.
- It first hits some of the tarantula's front legs, which pushes the tarantula back. At this point the centipede seems to realise it is clasping at the legs of something bigger, and perhaps has a sense of the size of its prey (and potentially, based on past history, understands this is a tarantula but we don't know that)
- The centipede brings its back legs round the side, which come into contact with the tarantula's other front legs. Now the centipede has a full grip on the tarantula.
- The centipede tries to find a decent biting point, presumably closer to the body, but can't reach it because it is being pushed back by the tarantula's legs. This means the centipede knows, or presumes, there is a better part of the body to be biting than the legs.
- The centipede lets go of the grip with its front legs, while maintaining grip with its back legs, and goes on the crawl for a better angle. At this point it's head passes under the tarantula's fangs, meaning it hadn't realised these were the bits to avoid (which was counter to my initial impression based on how the video ends) and nearly pays for that mistake. It recovers from its mistake quickly, which it was able to do because it had such a good overall grip, and manages to keep its body out of harm's way. Thereafter it seems quite relaxed as it goes for a bite on the head.

At first I was going to tack this post onto this thread saying how amazed I was that a centipede knows where a tarantula's fangs are. But after re-watching and pausing it many times, it seems it didn't know until it very nearly got bitten.

I think what can be said is that:
  • a) Centipedes understand that legs are not a preferred place to deliver a bite (there also is another experiment which shows statistically that centipedes prefer delivering bites to the head of their prey)
  • b) Centipedes learn what parts of the prey are dangerous to it during the altercation, and are very skillful at keeping those parts under control until they deliver a bite.
I think we should still be careful using words like "know" and "understand". A lot of this could be genetically programmed behaviours such as:
  • A predisposition to treat any part of prey that tries to move towards it as something it should keep itself away from.
  • A predisposition to place a bite on a large central part of this moving object, as opposed to smaller, freer-moving peripheral parts.
All of which give the impression of more intelligent behaviour. Still, it is all rather impressive coming from an animal with such limited vision, and a comparatively small number of neurons.
Wonder if the centipede would be more efficient with a tarantula as prey next time...
 

Scoly

Arachnobaron
Joined
Dec 4, 2013
Messages
422
Wonder if the centipede would be more efficient with a tarantula as prey next time...
There are surely ways you could empirically measure this, such as timing how long it takes to dispatch identical prey items and seeing if it decreases over time. The study showing centipedes prefer to bite the head region was remarkably simple in its design.
 

Staehilomyces

Arachnoprince
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Messages
1,447
I intend to look more deeply into the behavioural patters of my own pedes soon. I'll document anything I see in here. What I can say for certain is that it is undeniable that, unlike scorps and Ts, they definitely get used to handling, and don't get stressed by it. Pretty impressive for an animal that's practically blind.
 

Toxoderidae

Arachnoprince
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
1,010
I think crabs are pretty close, able to remember and register pain, and remember what exactly caused it. They can remember and learn, and are pretty intelligent in that regard.
 
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