Fun Stone Centipede Facts For Kids

Aabir Basu
Jan 09, 2023 By Aabir Basu
Originally Published on Aug 11, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
These stone centipede facts are sure to amaze you.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

Centipedes are definitely some of the creepiest of creepy crawlies out there.

The common name stone centipedes can either refer to the entire biological genus Lithobius, order Lithobiomorpha, and class Chilopoda, or any of the specific species contained within this group, every one of which shares characteristics with one another.

There are over 500 species under the umbrella group called stone centipede, and an estimated 8,000 species of centipedes in total, with only around 3,000 of them having been described and classified today.

They can deliver an extremely painful and venomous bite that is largely harmless to most but can prove fatal in children or those with allergies to bee stings.

Stone centipedes usually have a large number of body segments, most commonly 15. Each of these segments features a pair of legs, meaning they often have a total of 30 legs.

These centipedes feed on other insects like spiders, flies, mosquitoes, ticks, beetles, and sometimes, even other centipedes. These centipedes use their specialized frontmost pair of legs as tools to search for and kill prey and then transfer it to their mandibles.

The rest of their pairs of legs serve only one purpose, speed.

A stone centipede can scuttle away from you at great speed, enough for you to never be able to kill it. Stone centipedes do not have well-developed eyes, and have ocelli instead which are simple eyes that are only capable of detecting light and nothing more.

If you enjoy these unforgettable facts on the stone centipede, don't forget to check out our facts pages on the house centipede and the giant African millipede.  

Stone Centipede Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a stone centipede?

Stone centipedes are a group of centipedes which are insects.

What class of animal does a stone centipede belong to?

Stone centipedes are biologically classified under the class Chilopoda and are arthropods, phylum Arthropoda, meaning that they possess an exoskeleton to protect their soft inner body parts.

How many stone centipedes are there in the world?

While the exact number of stone centipede species in the world is not known, they are considered to be found commonly in the wild.

Where does a stone centipede live?

Stone centipedes can,  despite their name, live in a wide variety of different habitats such as in soil, in tree bark, under stones, or maybe even in the yard of your house. Most genus of centipedes can live virtually anywhere, with the only exception being the genus Scolopendromorpha or tropical centipedes.

The two species under the category Scolopendromorpha, as their common name suggests, will not venture far from a tropical and humid climate.

What is a stone centipede's habitat?

Centipedes, order Lithobiomorpha, search for warm, moist, and temperate conditions to live in. These requirements, as you can imagine, are fulfilled by a very large selection of places such as the bark of trees, undersides of stones in open grasslands, logs, and the odd basement of a house, making this centipede quite commonplace.

Who do stone centipedes live with?

Centipedes, order Lithobiomorpha and genus Lithobius, are largely solitary creatures, alone for most of their life, and will only be found in pairs during mating season.

How long does a stone centipede live?

While the exact lifespan of any of these species in the order Lithobiomorpha has not been studied specifically, it is known that the average longevity of life of centipedes is around three to six years.

How do they reproduce?

Centipedes of order Lithobiomorpha do not practice copulation. Instead, males of all species of centipedes generate a spermatophore, a sac-like structure containing male reproductive material and either leave it lying around for a female to find and use, or perform an intricate dance using their many legs to woo the female into using his spermatophore for breeding.

What is their conservation status?

Since stone centipedes include over 500 species of centipedes, they are Not Evaluated on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species but are considered to be quite abundant within their geographical range.

Stone Centipede Fun Facts

What do stone centipedes look like?

Stone centipedes have the physical characteristics you would picture a centipede to have. They have a dark brown to black body, with several segments separated.

Each of these segments features a pair of legs, adding up to around 15 pairs of legs.

They can use this ridiculous amount of pairs of legs to scuttle around at very quick speeds, while the frontmost pair of legs are specially shaped to function as a feeding, killing, and searching multi-tool.

These centipedes' body coloration is perfect for camouflaging themselves in soil, logs, and bark of trees as well as in the nooks and crannies of your house.

Stone Centipede

How cute are they?

Centipedes are definitely not at the top of the cutest animals list in anyone's minds, what with their venomous bite and the insane number of legs they possess, making them the very epitome of the word 'creepy-crawly'.

How do they communicate?

Centipedes do not have the best vision due to the lack of compound eyes that many other arthropods have like the fly and the tarantula. As such, physical and body language communication methods are out of the equation.

Their most common form of communication is most likely touch, as well as the release of chemicals that other individuals can sense. They have very primitive auditory senses and can only sense a small range of vibration.

How big is a stone centipede?

The average adult stone centipede size is around 0.8–2.0 in (2–5 cm), meaning they are nearly five times smaller than the average common millipede, and around five times larger than flatworms.

How fast can stone centipedes move?

The average recorded speed of a centipede is around a little under 1 mph (1.61 kph). While this may not seem like much at first, when its weight and size are translated to that of a human, it would equal a human running at 42 mph (67.6 kph).

How much does a stone centipede weigh?

Seeing as a centipede's body is more legs and less body, they weigh quite small amounts around 1 oz (30 g). However, this is a rough estimate and records of any specific weight of species of stone centipede are sparse.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Both males and females of this group of species are referred to by the same name.

What would you call a baby stone centipede?

Immature centipedes are called nymphs and are usually found in soil. They do not undergo metamorphosis but do practice molting, where it sheds its skin to make room for more growth, or in this case, room for more legs.

What do they eat?

Stone centipedes are opportunistic hunters that will eat anything of a reasonable size including beetles, mites, ticks, flies, mosquitoes, dragonflies, and even other centipedes.

Are they harmful?

Yes, they can be. Their bite is extremely painful and can cause life-threatening reactions for those who are allergic to bee stings, children, and the elderly.

Would they make a good pet?

No, not only are they not the most pleasing to look at with their many legs, they can also cause harm and those around you and must be kept in complete captivity, which is quite harsh on it and reduces its lifespan greatly.

Did you know...

Even though centipedes and millipedes are often mistaken for the other, they do not share many biological links, with the first common ancestor of the two having lived millions of years ago.

Are stone centipedes dangerous?

Yes, they can bite when provoked, leading to a lot of pain and allergic reactions. Always be wary when doing yard work, since a centipede will definitely take offense at your messing around with the soil it calls home.

How do you get rid of stone centipedes?

Try using a dehumidifier or fix water leaks in the house since moisture is the main draw for most species of centipedes.

Additionally, getting rid of other insects and pests with the help of a professional will eliminate the source of food for any centipedes looking to become your roommates, meaning it will look for more food-rich real estate elsewhere instead.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other insects from our wheel bug facts and stick bug facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our free printable Stone centipede coloring pages.


north america europe and asia

Get directions
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Aabir Basu

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Computer Engineering

Aabir Basu picture

Aabir BasuBachelor of Engineering specializing in Computer Engineering

During Aabir's higher education at Indian School Muscat, he received several academic awards before pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. In addition to his academic achievements, Aabir participated in two Model United Nations conferences and volunteered as a librarian. With his diverse background and language skills, Aabir is a valuable member of the Kidadl team.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

Read full bio >