Help Identifying Desert Centipede?

Grampus

Arachnopeon
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There is a centipede that lives in southern California, Mojave desert- specifically the High Desert (I live in Victorville, CA), which I cannot identify after substantial searching of the interweb. I have not caught one yet, so I cannot provide a picture; however I can provide a somewhat detailed description: orange head, mostly grey back with some blue, light orange/almost yellow legs, and the antennae-like things on its posterior end are the same color as, or slightly more blue than the rest of its back. After searching, the closest thing I could find to the centipede I have described, was a picture of a Scolopendra heros castaneiceps, but some differences which include the darkness of its back, darker orange head, and more yellow leg color, cause doubt that it is the same centipede. If anyone could help in identifying this centipede that I have described, and possibly provide some care information (as I intend to capture one and keep it as a pet), it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you all in advance.
 

What

Arachnoprince
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It is probably a Scolopendra polymorpha. Good luck on catching one, they are cool pets.
 

cacoseraph

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Grampus

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Thanks guys, that's what it is. Polymorpha. Just I guess the ones out here have more blue to them. The other day I was in my backyard (which is all bare desert terrain) turning over rocks looking for one, but found only 4 large black, very short-haired spiders that burrow underneath rocks, and make a funnel web. (are they some type of funnel web spider?) But I know for a fact that this centipede is around somewhere- they sometimes find their way into my bathroom! Is underneath rocks the best place to look? What time of day do you think I should have the best luck? I would really like to catch one of these guys and keep it as a pet.
 

What

Arachnoprince
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If you want to ship me one of the spiders I can get it ID'ed....

Sounds like it might be a Kukulcania sp...
 

sick4x4

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you caught one??? in cali???:? ya you need to stop by the above mentioned link...is that a pic of it or is that a ref to what it looked like??
 

What

Arachnoprince
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Sick4x4, polymorpha range all through California. And he said the picture is just a ref...
 

cacoseraph

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But I know for a fact that this centipede is around somewhere- they sometimes find their way into my bathroom! Is underneath rocks the best place to look? What time of day do you think I should have the best luck? I would really like to catch one of these guys and keep it as a pet.
first, you should change the "img" tags to "url" tags in that picture post. it is against the forum rules to make the pic appear like that. it is called "leech linking" in the olden days.


second, and more importantly... polymorpha are normally easy to find in the non-peak summer months. i think they have been driven to the underground by all the heat and lack of rain and moisture recently. i haven't found a centipede by flip hunting for almost two months now, iirc. and this is in areas where i can normally find a dozen or so in a day.

crepuscular (sp?)... but dawn and dusk times are the best to find centipedes... at least, dawn is when i have set speed records (finding one every ten minutes for like 80 minutes straight).

these things make excellent pets. also, the name "polymorpha" technically means "many shapes" but what it alludes to is that this species comes in a LOT of different colors! i have personally seen and caught brick red, blue-ish, green-ish, and TONS of yellows. the legs can be dif colors than the body. i would love to get same colors and breed them together to see what happens
 

Grampus

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Sorry about the picture thing, I just used the feature that is on the menu above where you write your post.... And for some reason the edit function isn't showing up now, so I can't fix it.

So you dont think I'll be able to find anything this time of year? I still have some hope, because my little brother found one (but unfortunately didn't catch it) under a rock about a week ago. And I haven't done any searching at dusk or dawn yet, but I will tonight. Wish me luck!
 

Grampus

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I caught one! He was underneath a rock in an area that gets shade all day. He is about 3 inches long, and really thin. Cacoseraph, I read your care sheet, but would you mind giving me some more specific information about how to keep them?

What substrate have you found is the most successful? How deep should it be?

How often do you feed? How often do you mist? I am pretty sure mine is very young- are small crickets OK?

Is there any risk of having a terrarium that is too large? I am using one that is about 2-3 gallons.

Where I live, in the High Desert, it is very dry and hot during and around summer, and very very cold in the winter. Just thought that would be useful information if you can help me, and it will be infinitely appreciated if you can.
 

What

Arachnoprince
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Congrats on catching a pede!

You can keep it on damp peat that is about 2-3 inches deep.

If the pede is 3" it is probably an adult or very close to being one, at that size they can take 3-5 large crickets a week.

As for the terrarium, I personally wouldnt go larger than a 5 gallon so the one you have right now is probably fine. Just be careful that the pede cannot escape because they are very good at that!
 

Grampus

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Actually, now that I look at him, a little over 2 inches is a better estimate, including the rear-most legs and antennae, lol sorry... I am sure he is not an adult- he is very very thin, about 1 cm, and adult scolopendra polymorpha I have seen in pics on here look pretty big, a LOT bigger than mine. There's been a pretty good size pinhead cricket in there for over a day now, and he hasnt touched it. In fact, whenever he encounters it, he books it out of there. There is a hide for him, but I just now looked in the cage and he had burrowed down to the bottom of the dirt that I have in there temporarily (the same dirt from his natural habitat where he was found).

So you use just straight peat moss? damp? It is very dry where I live, are you sure he will be ok in a moist, humid climate?
 

What

Arachnoprince
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It should be completely fine on slightly damp peat. I get mine from pet stores and it comes in compressed cubes so that is probably going to be your easiest source of it.

Its behavior is totally normal for a centipede. Mine stay buried almost all the time.

Also, I would really love if you could grab me a couple of those spiders you mentioned before.
 

cacoseraph

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Actually, now that I look at him, a little over 2 inches is a better estimate, including the rear-most legs and antennae, lol sorry... I am sure he is not an adult- he is very very thin, about 1 cm, and adult scolopendra polymorpha I have seen in pics on here look pretty big, a LOT bigger than mine. There's been a pretty good size pinhead cricket in there for over a day now, and he hasnt touched it. In fact, whenever he encounters it, he books it out of there. There is a hide for him, but I just now looked in the cage and he had burrowed down to the bottom of the dirt that I have in there temporarily (the same dirt from his natural habitat where he was found).

So you use just straight peat moss? damp? It is very dry where I live, are you sure he will be ok in a moist, humid climate?

i prekill or mangle all the roaches (or crix when i was feeding those) that go to my centipedes. cents are actually fairly big babies and will only attack food when they are really hungry (or thirsty).

though the macrohabitat that tigers can be found in *is* quite dry the microhabitats they actually spend time in are generally much less harsh. centipedes lack the ability to fully seal themselves against moisture loss, mostly do to their spiracles, so they do exceptionally poor in dry dry setups, even the desert species. i try to give at least as much substrate depth as the centipede has body length... and i try to never let the substrate dry out unless i have a full drinking dish in the container also


for sub i typically use mostly or only coconut products. sometimes i add in some shredded cypress or large chunk coconut husk for structure if i want to make sure the centipede can burrow and not have the burrow collapse... but even with my best admixtures the substrate looses the ability to maintain a burrow after ~18 months. thus i have started burying big structures for the centipede to burrow under. i use this strategy with a lot of centipedes that i have gotten babies from... search for my Built-in-Burrow posts to see what i mean

http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/showthread.php?t=94162&highlight=built+in+burrow
 

pvanderwerf

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Sighting Consistent with Previous Centipede Description

Hello,

I'm in the same climate as Victorville - about 80 miles north (northwest San Bernardino County). I have worm beds and am getting quite the insect collection.

A few weeks ago, I caught a small scorpion. Today, I killed a rather mature black widow in the same bed.

My third bed (my newest) had a pair of centipedes (about 3 inches long) that appear to be the same as the one observed in Victorville.

I was preparing to water the bed at about 6:00 pm. As I removed the plywood covering, the centipede ran under the cardboard. When I removed the cardboard, I saw another centipede run into the worm castings.

Hopefully, I'll catch them sometime in the next week. I usually work with my worm beds in the morning and evening, so it seems like it's a natural time to catch a centipede or two.

- The Funny Farm
 
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