Sharing my new pede(s), Scolopendra gigantea (black morph).

Neil TW

Arachnopeon
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Dec 22, 2012
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Since I'm crazy enough, this summer vacation I went to Trinidad to find my dreaming centipedes, Scolopendra gigantea (black morph/dark morph/or whatever you like to call them).

Eventually found out they are ridiculously rare, total 10 night search and 6 day search only 3 living specimen were found.

Very luckily a friend in Trinidad will take care of the 2 individuals I obtain from an off-shore island and do the export job so all I need to do is wait for their arrival in the near future.

Well, let's focus on the species.

First, they are MASSIVE. Both individuals I obtain are female, easily hit solid 24cm body length when fully fed. This size is enormous for matriphagy species(or at least I believe they are) in the wild since they usually mate young, breed young, and die young. While a dead male specimen was found on the road of Chaguaramas, fully dehydrated but still hitting solid 22cm body length.

Second, the population is small, and obviously they aren't the dominant species of the area but S.angulata. No idea because the compete between species limited their number or the niche of lifestyle limited their number, or both. Besides that most of the habitat are in military restricted area which you can hear gunshot all the day(they're just practicing, but entering the area and got into big trouble is very likely to happen)

Third, they're nasty tempered. While most South American species, included the Peruvian giants(galapagoensis, gigantea "white leg", or robusta) all choose to run when provoked unless captured, these mighty black giants just stand there are lift their body up like cobras posting defensive gesture, then bite when they can.

Fourth, detail characteristic of the specimen are very different the S.gigantea"white legged form", alone with the far distance between their region and the "gap" filled by galapagoensis, I'm pretty sure they are different species. After talking with some researchers, the neotype of S.gigantea comes from Venezuela, which likely means S.gigantea"white legged from" should be labeled as S.cf.gigantea before they are formally described, but that's another thing not too related to this topic.

Last, unlike most giants I encountered before, they really are climbers, which Actually I encountered 1 individual hanging on 90 degree wall eating a fruit(yes, fruit, which I don't know which kind.), it's obvious it went down to the bottom of the cave, picked a fruit which fell into the cave, and carried it all the way up to the wall to feed.

And last but not least, one of the individual seemed to be gravid IMO, finding no male specimen all I can hope is to get a clutch of captive-born baby from her. Otherwise the holy giant pede will still be the holy giant pede, likely forever.

The compare photo between the obvious 2 different species is one S.angulata mature female alongside a S.gigantea.
 

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Chris LXXIX

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Christ those are impressive :angelic:

Good work man, btw :-s

I love centipedes attitude, I guess one of those specimens would easily jump out from my enclosure eh eh
 

kjgalaxy

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Beautiful. And as big as my giant millipedes! Wow! I hope you get some babies. That must have been just an awesome trip!
 

Galapoheros

ArachnoGod
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Wow that sounds like it was fun! imo the fact that you found a few prob means they aren't rare though. That's about the hunt record for my heros hunting yet heros are considered common, some days finding nothing after hours of lifting and searching. You might be walking right over specimens under things and in holes. WC are pretty crazy, I've never found a centipede in the wild that wasn't hungry.
 

shining

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Beautiful.

How can you tell they were females? I'm assuming they exhibit sexual dimorphism (unless you gassed and popped em)?
 

KezyGLA

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Wow!

Those are quite impressive. I don't own any pedes but find myself watching videos of them on youtube constantly.

I like the look of Scolopendra dehanni :)

Orange bits are pretty
 

Neil TW

Arachnopeon
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Dec 22, 2012
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Wow that sounds like it was fun! imo the fact that you found a few prob means they aren't rare though. That's about the hunt record for my heros hunting yet heros are considered common, some days finding nothing after hours of lifting and searching. You might be walking right over specimens under things and in holes. WC are pretty crazy, I've never found a centipede in the wild that wasn't hungry.
True, but even locales don't notice them much. Alone wit the side I believe I went at the right season and used every method possible(baiting, rock flipping, and walking around at night in various environment) trying to find them. It's nearly 140 hours of searching I've done, usually I can get at least a dozen living specimen of S.subspinipes in Taiwan, or the large Scolopendra species in Hong Kong(which I had done it before, and no I'm not mass collecting any animals.), so I considered it still... quite rare compare to other species.


Beautiful.

How can you tell they were females? I'm assuming they exhibit sexual dimorphism (unless you gassed and popped em)?
Yeah I popped both of them, but not by gassing but cooling.


Awesome finds. Do you think they get any bigger in captivity?
I believe yes, if the male versus female's size difference is similar to the Peruvian giants I won't be surprise if any of them hits 35 cm body length. The very large dead male I found probably die from nature cause(strangely, it died right beside perfect hiding place, with no wounds anywhere, just sit there and died and dried...) measured solid 22cm body length(when completely dehydrated) and 6 cm legspan, which means it's probably nearly 26 cm when it's alive, that's much bigger than any galapagoensis even the Peruvian cf.gigantea(white legged) I've encountered.
 

Epreese

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Sep 13, 2013
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Very cool pictures of a seldom seen pede! Definitely on my wish list. That's so cool that you were able to catch them, must've been very exciting when you finally found them!
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one of them is gravid!!
 

Neil TW

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Dec 22, 2012
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Very cool pictures of a seldom seen pede! Definitely on my wish list. That's so cool that you were able to catch them, must've been very exciting when you finally found them!
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one of them is gravid!!
Indeed, finding them in the wild is way more exciting than anything else. Especially when you find the gigantic one.
 

arizonensis

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Absolutely beautiful pedes. I'm heading down to Trinidad in November *fingers crossed*. Any suggestions as to where to look for them? I've gone on night walks in the past in Trini, but I've only ever seen Ts and amblypygids.
 

Galapoheros

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Absolutely beautiful pedes. I'm heading down to Trinidad in November *fingers crossed*. Any suggestions as to where to look for them? I've gone on night walks in the past in Trini, but I've only ever seen Ts and amblypygids.
Centipedes can be hard to find, depends on the species I suppose. I know several 50 year old people born and raised here where Scolopendra heros and they have never even seen one!, it's weird to me. But I've learned where to find them. Where you find one, there are more, they are probably in some areas and not in others like most species. Neil TW, what is it like where you went, did you feel safe? Were there many that spoke English? I wouldn't like to go somewhere and not be able to communicate very well. I would also go to something like Google maps and look at sat imagery, look for natural areas to poss go to, without getting shot haha.
 

Chris LXXIX

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But I've learned where to find them. Where you find one, there are more
Muahahahah reminds me of my Grandfather with mushrooms :-s

He knew all the places/secret spot and was jealous of that. I suppose if he was into 'pedes he would had said something like that :)
 

Neil TW

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Dec 22, 2012
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Absolutely beautiful pedes. I'm heading down to Trinidad in November *fingers crossed*. Any suggestions as to where to look for them? I've gone on night walks in the past in Trini, but I've only ever seen Ts and amblypygids.
Well, since you've been to there you do know how hard finding them are. Everything must be right to find them, including region(yes they only live in a small area of Trinidad island), season(They only come out about 4~5 months per year), timing(obviously they won't be wandering around during day time). I would like to keep the more detailed habitat info more private since I don't think their population are big enough for mass collection.


Centipedes can be hard to find, depends on the species I suppose. I know several 50 year old people born and raised here where Scolopendra heros and they have never even seen one!, it's weird to me. But I've learned where to find them. Where you find one, there are more, they are probably in some areas and not in others like most species. Neil TW, what is it like where you went, did you feel safe? Were there many that spoke English? I wouldn't like to go somewhere and not be able to communicate very well. I would also go to something like Google maps and look at sat imagery, look for natural areas to poss go to, without getting shot haha.
The area I went are considered safe, English are the locals' language, but in order to get to the place these centipedes live.... well, it won't be comfortable since I need to carry my food, water, raincoat, and build my temporary shelter to stay overnight. Besides that some places have no road so you'll need to walk your path out by yourself.(Important! Remember to carry a back-up pair of shoes and socks, and do find/construct shelter before afternoon, otherwise you'll be all wet.)

Yeah for most pedes where you find one you'll find more, but this rule does not apply to this species. I looked over 8 nights in the same region where I find the pedes, and no I did not encounter more, indeed 2 specimens were found in 2 slightly different area.
 

arizonensis

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Well, since you've been to there you do know how hard finding them are. Everything must be right to find them, including region(yes they only live in a small area of Trinidad island), season(They only come out about 4~5 months per year), timing(obviously they won't be wandering around during day time). I would like to keep the more detailed habitat info more private since I don't think their population are big enough for mass collection.
Fair enough. I'll ask some of the older folks what they know and hope they're in the area.
 

Staehilomyces

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Mar 2, 2016
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Whenever I go pede hunting, I nearly always encounter little dud pedes like geophilomorpha. Here in Australia, the top target is usually Ethmostigmus rubripes, but they are nowhere near as impressive as what you are showing here. Good luck with your suspected gravid female!
 

Neil TW

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Dec 22, 2012
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Fair enough. I'll ask some of the older folks what they know and hope they're in the area.
Wish you luck, however that's what I did in the first 2 weeks and apparently asking locales... don't do me much help. Most of them just don't know the differences between S.gigantea or S.angulata, for them they're all centipedes, big enough to be noticed and killed...
 
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