Scolopendra subspinipes Got loose!

Scoly

Arachnobaron
Joined
Dec 4, 2013
Messages
422
Well non native species do well with really no other predators to deal with.
This was supposedly caught in Hawaii
But the background trees don’t look right.
That photo is from somewhere in Asia, and clearly involves some forced perspective.

As for the issue of S.subspinipes being "invasive" to Hawaii, I think it's not as clear cut as we think.

Yes S.subspinipes (like S.morsitans) has been introduced by man to areas far from its natural range. E.g. both have been found on various Caribbean islands, whereas S.subspinipes originates from S.E Asia, and S.moristans we believe to originate from Africa (though it is well established in Australia and the Malay archipelago).

But here's another thing to consider: centipedes like to hide in dead logs, 100's of which wash out to sea each year to become driftwood. I have even found S.cingulata on driftwood on the actual beach, ready to float away. I once calculated that a piece of driftwood could travel from Malay archipelago to South America on the Equatorial counter current in as little as 12 weeks. That's the full pacific, the islands in between would be reached in far less time). My calculations were probably not all that correct, but the point is that driftwood from Malay archipelago can easily reach Hawaii in a time span which a centipede tucked deep into a large bit of driftwood could survive. So I would expect 100's if not 1000's of S.E. Asian centipedes to have been carried over the oceans to Hawaii in the few millennia those currents have been in place.

In fact, I have a suspicion that the genus Scolopendra originated in S.E Asia and spread to the rest of the world from there, though the Americas were obviously conquered some time ago.
 

vyadha

Arachnosquire
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Jan 20, 2019
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What is it that leads you to suspect that scolopendra is originally from Asia?
 

Scoly

Arachnobaron
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Dec 4, 2013
Messages
422
What is it that leads you to suspect that scolopendra is originally from Asia?
First of all note that I said "I suspect" - I am not an expert, nor do I have anything more than a hunch, so please bear that in mind with what follows :)

The first reason I suspect SE Asia is the original home of the genus Scolopendra is down variety of species and subspecies found there compared to other tropical regions. South America, India, Central Africa, Northern Autralia etc... don't have the same variety of Scolopendra. Other genera (Ehtmostigmus, Cormocephalus yes) but not Scolopendra. Also, it is only in SE Asia that we have a truly arboreal species (S.subcrustalis) and a few semi-aquatic species (S.paradoxa, S.cataracta). Adaptation into edge niches takes time.

The second reason is that it seems that genus Scolopendra has spread into Africa via Eurasia through S.cingulata in the Middle East, then S.morstians down East Africa. It just strikes me as odd that Sub-Saharan Africa does not have any large Scolopendra, only Ethmostigmus, which are slower growing, and don't readily reach the sizes which Scolopendra in the Americas and Asia do. My theory on that is that genus Ethmostigmus had dominion over Africa until the more advanced Scolopendra genus crept in via Eurasia, but it did so via small growing highly adaptable species (mainly S.morsitans) which have not yet branched out into larger species which the likes of the Congo basin could certainly support.

As mentioned above, it is entirely feasible that the genus spread to South America by driftwood, although the opposite is also a possibility.

I wasn't sure how quickly new species could evolve, and we're used to thinking that species take 1000's or millions of years to separate but it can actually happen much quicker, as you may gather from this snippet:

"A small handful of European mice deposited on the island of Madeira some 600 years ago have now evolved into at least six different species. The island is very rocky and the mice became isolated into different niches. The original species had 40 chromosomes, but the new populations have anywhere between 22-30 chromosomes. They haven't lost DNA, but rather, some chromosomes have fused together over time and so the mice can now only breed with others with the same number of chromosomes, making each group a separate species."

But as I'm thinking this through, I realise there's a few flaws. The first is the issue of which Dawkins compares to "scaffolding": when you see an impressive stone bridge, it's impossible to understand how the stoned were able to meet up in the middle without falling in - until you grasp that this was made possible thanks to structures which are long since gone. And so it is with species: we can't understand how giraffes got their long necks because there are no mid-length neck giraffes around to spot as an immediate link (simply because they have all disappeared).

This analogy helps us understand morphology, but also works for ecology. I am basing my hunch on the prevalence of Scolopendra in SE Asia and it's poor representation in Africa, but who's not to say it originated in Africa, and there were arboreal and semi-aquatic species, and the genus spread outwards from Africa, but due to the massive climate change in Africa over the past few million years (which led to us) perhaps all the various Scolopendra weren't able to keep up and only Ethmostigmus, Cormocephalus were able to retain a foothold?

So I'd say my theory is plausible, but the logic behind it is flawed because a) we haven't found all that is to be found and b) some of it may never be found.
 

vyadha

Arachnosquire
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Jan 20, 2019
Messages
135
The niche adaptation theory is pretty cool. Not to mention climate change over eons. Its just really fun to speculate on.
 

Nicholas Rothstein

Arachnoknight
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Feb 7, 2019
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167
Pics are fine in this case also.
I couldn't find my pictures, it must be on my old drive. But I can assure you there are other scolopendra species here. Next time i go hunting I'll try to find one. As I said they are much less common.
 

Mslinger

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
55
I couldn't find my pictures, it must be on my old drive. But I can assure you there are other scolopendra species here. Next time i go hunting I'll try to find one. As I said they are much less common.
Next time I’m in Hawaii I’m going to spend some time looking for various species
 

Bill S

Arachnoprince
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The first reason I suspect SE Asia is the original home of the genus Scolopendra is down variety of species and subspecies found there compared to other tropical regions......
Diversification can occur far from the original source as animals (or plants) adapt to selective pressures in new environments. For example - look at what happened to finches in the Galapagos Islands. Not their point of origin, but diversified to meet new challenges.

A much better way to establish point of origin would be through phylogenetics. In DNA analysis of existing species in any group cladistics can show which species or species groups are more basal and which are more recently evolved. What you want to find is which are the more basal groups (the stock from which other groups split off in the evolutionary process)and where they may have come from. If all the more basal groups are from one region, there's a much greater chance that region is where the "original home" was. But keep in mind that centipedes are of ancient lineage - they came into being long before the continents that we recognize today did. In other words, they existed before Asia and North America did. Their "original home" was on a continent, supercontinent or land mass that has broken up, drifted and changed. The best you can hope for in finding the "original home" is to identify a region that "has become "part of the modern continent of ...." or "area that is now included in portions of the continents ......".
 
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NukingTheFridge

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 9, 2018
Messages
8
@Mslinger How did the wife take it? I am still trying to get mine to accept my wish for getting a centipede. Should i manage to do so and it got loose i strongly suspect it would be my head on a pike o_O
 

Scoly

Arachnobaron
Joined
Dec 4, 2013
Messages
422
Diversification can occur far from the original source as animals (or plants) adapt to selective pressures in new environments. For example - look at what happened to finches in the Galapagos Islands. Not their point of origin, but diversified to meet new challenges.

A much better way to establish point of origin would be through phylogenetics. In DNA analysis of existing species in any group cladistics can show which species or species groups are more basal and which are more recently evolved. What you want to find is which are the more basal groups (the stock from which other groups split off in the evolutionary process)and where they may have come from. If all the more basal groups are from one region, there's a much greater chance that region is where the "original home" was. But keep in mind that centipedes are of ancient lineage - they came into being long before the continents that we recognize today did. In other words, they existed before Asia and North America did. Their "original home" was on a continent, supercontinent or land mass that has broken up, drifted and changed. The best you can hope for in finding the "original home" is to identify a region that "has become "part of the modern continent of ...." or "area that is now included in portions of the continents ......".
Yes, you're absolutely right, DNA analysis can provide us with a much clearer picture than any other means.

As for centipedes being around before the continents split, of course, at least in some recognisable form. What I'm not sure about is where sections of the phylogenetic tree, such as genus Scolopendra or Ethmostigmus, stretch that far back in time or if they are more recent. I simply do not know. The reason I suspect Scolopendra is more recent is because of its poor representation in Africa and Australia, and the fact that it is plausible that the African Scolopendra branched out from Scolopendra cingulata, which in turn could only have colonised the Mediterranean with its myriad permutations after the last ice age. But yes, until we get DNA analysis this is pure speculation.
 

Scoly

Arachnobaron
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Messages
422
@Bill S Interesting that you mention the finches of the Galapagos, as it was an article on that which changed my (and probably many other people's) understanding of how genes work and what they are capable.

One fun exercise to play is to imagine that we could engineer creatures to colonise new planets, and think of what we could do to improve their chances, within the realms of possibility. Many of the ideas you'd come up with are in fact exactly how it currently happens.

Sending creatures whose genes are capable of producing not just offspring with variation in gradual features (such as beak size) but also for many distinct permutations (like the colour patterns of eyelash vipers) even if this means lugging around a massive was of unused DNA in each cell would be a great improvement over a design where 100% of the DNA is expressed, and adaptation can only happen from random mutations, 99% of which would likely be fatal to the animal.

Of course, you can't fit out an animal with bits of fish, insect and mammal because those are vastly different systems, and parts need to operate together, so you'd have to factor in things which encourage cohesion of features and balance that against the variability.

It's almost like pre-loaded evolution: instead of DNA relying on replication errors which cause God knows what changes in the animal, the DNA instead has a host of variable settings, the permutations of which almost always produce viable animals (perhaps not fit, but at least functional), allowing evolution to happen without waiting for chance mutations (which are far more likely to be fatal than useful). What's more is that the level of variability itself is controlled by the genes, so it will end up being optimum (e.g. produce 98% of offspring the same, and 2% weirdos).

Of course, mutations still happen. And in fact, mutations are just as likely to happen in the large strands of inactive DNA as they are in active DNA, so only having a small amount expressed actually hides (and to an extent) protects against the effect of most mutations.
 

Bill S

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
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1,399
As for centipedes being around before the continents split, of course, at least in some recognisable form. What I'm not sure about is where sections of the phylogenetic tree, such as genus Scolopendra or Ethmostigmus, stretch that far back in time or if they are more recent. I simply do not know. The reason I suspect Scolopendra is more recent is because of its poor representation in Africa and Australia, and the fact that it is plausible that the African Scolopendra branched out from Scolopendra cingulata, which in turn could only have colonised the Mediterranean with its myriad permutations after the last ice age. But yes, until we get DNA analysis this is pure speculation.
Some groups of centipedes that we are familiar with today (Scutigeromorpha) go back in the fossil record 416 million years. Scolopendromorpha back to the upper Carboniferous (310 to 280 million years ago). Continents have moved and changed since then. One article you may enjoy touches on some of this: http://ambre.jaune.free.fr/Chilopoda_The_fossil_history.pdf
 

Mslinger

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
55
@Mslinger How did the wife take it? I am still trying to get mine to accept my wish for getting a centipede. Should i manage to do so and it got loose i strongly suspect it would be my head on a pike o_O
Well ya she was pissed...lol
But she got over it. I always say it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission
 

Mslinger

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
55
Some groups of centipedes that we are familiar with today (Scutigeromorpha) go back in the fossil record 416 million years. Scolopendromorpha back to the upper Carboniferous (310 to 280 million years ago). Continents have moved and changed since then. One article you may enjoy touches on some of this: http://ambre.jaune.free.fr/Chilopoda_The_fossil_history.pdf
Thanks for that. I love reading articles like these.
 
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