legs turning black?

Mister Internet

Big Meanie Doo Doo Head :)
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Hey All,

I was inspecting my Scolopendra heros castineiceps yesterday and noticed something a bit disturbing. Normally, the claws at the end of their legs are black, but he has developed blackening on many of his legs that extends through the first one or two segments of his legs, from the claws up. I will try to get a picture posted later today that shows the problem, but for now, just imagine that half a leg has turned black when it should be yellow. I have ruled out impending molt as this anomaly only affects a dozen or so legs out of 42... I would expect that impending molt would affect all legs equally.

Any ideas, I'd love to hear them... I suspect that I was keeping him way too humid... I dismantled and rebuilt his enclosure yesterday and found a LOT of water in the bottom. I had no idea that the enclosure was retaining that much humidity.
 

Wade

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Originally posted by Mister Internet
I suspect that I was keeping him way too humid... I dismantled and rebuilt his enclosure yesterday and found a LOT of water in the bottom. I had no idea that the enclosure was retaining that much humidity.
Mister Internet-

I stongly suspect you are correct in your diagnosis. My experience with S. heros suggests that they are very sensitive to to wet conditions. Most other pedes in the hobby seem to prefer a lot of moisture, but I've seen this "leg rot" phenomenon on several S. heros I've kept. I think it's probably fungal in nature.

My suggestion would be to try to let the container dry out a bit. Maybe not bone-dry the way you would with a desert tarantula, but with a moisture gradient, perhaps with some moisture in the lower levels of substrate, but dry on top. Increased ventilation may help.

Scott posted (on the "millipede" yahoo group) some interesting methods he was using with S. heros babies (are we officially calling them "plings" now?). I think he was keeping them on dry substrate with no (or severely limited) ventilation. The lack of ventilation caused the humidity to be high, but the lack of moisture prevents fungi from becoming a problem. Hopefully, he'll elaborate if I've gotten something wrong. I'm not sure if this would work with an adult that already has a problem, however.

I've used betadine to treat fungal infections on tarantulas, but I'm no sure if I'd want to try it on a pede. Aside from the difficulty you'll have appying it, there's also the possibility of the pede ingesting it when it grooms itself.

Anyway, good luck and let us know how it turns out! This problem is common enough that we'll all benefit from your experience.

Wade
 

Mister Internet

Big Meanie Doo Doo Head :)
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Wade,

Yeah, that was my gut feeling... i was under the impression that Ts groomed themselves as well? I know centipedes do a LOT of grooming, so I agree that the betadine bath would be a last resort... I'm keeping an eye on him to see if the condition worsens... I'll keep you all updated...
 
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