Centipede Puzzle

Bill S

Arachnoprince
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Oct 2, 2006
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More than a year ago I found a Scolopendra heros at the place where I work. It had fallen victim to insecticide, but I brought it home and babied it along. It recovered and became a ravenous eating machine. Periodically it disappears for weeks at a time (burrows into the substrate), and although I haven't witnessed a molt, I'm guessing that's what was going on. It has grown into an impressive beast.

Back in late June of this year it once again went underground - but for a longer period of time. It finally emerged today. But this time it appears to have done more than just molt - it had a baby centiped crawling on it. The baby soon went back underground, and Mom is munching on some crickets. I have no idea how many babies there might be - I'll just have to wait and see.

My big question is - can centipedes really store sperm that long? Even through a molt or two? This seems really odd to me, but I know she hasn't been with a male for more than a year. Unfortunately, I never measured her so I can't quote growth figures. She SEEMS much bigger now - but maybe that's just because she's been very well fed? I'm not convinced of that - but looking for some explanation that makes sense.
 

super-pede

Arachnobaron
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Feb 6, 2010
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543
this is pretty common actually with wild caught females.I'm not sure how long they can store sperm though
 

Bill S

Arachnoprince
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Thank you Crysta. Those links were interesting. I'll be looking forward to seeing if she produces babies next year and after that as well. The speculations on parthenogenesis raise some possibilities. Now if I can find a way to sex centipedes.....
 

Draiman

Arachnoking
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Who knows, maybe centipedes need only one mating and then are able to store sperm from that mating indefinitely.

Conjectures aside, I had a Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans lay a viable clutch of eggs about a month after molting. Their capacity to retain sperm through multiple molts is quite well known.

http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/showthread.php?t=180325
 

Bill S

Arachnoprince
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Oct 2, 2006
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Once again, thank you Crysta. Very informative thread. I'm probably not going to jump into that process right away - but it's great to have that information available as a resource.
 
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