Tag Archives: Centipedes and Millipedes


A Bee on a Maiapilo flower

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Summer Bugs.’ (See more responses here.) To the best of my knowledge, Hawaii’s bugs are pretty much the same year-round. Here are some of them.

The top photo shows a bee showing impressive balance on a maiapilo flower.

Next up, clockwise from top left: Getting down to eye level with a juvenile praying mantis. A painted lady butterfly on a kiawe tree. A katydid wondering what it’s done to deserve this much attention. A seven-spotted lady beetle being watched.

The final gallery: Top left: A mango flower beetle explores a spider lily. Top right: A watchful cane spider wondering if it should run, very fast, away. Bottom left: A Hawaiian carpenter ant (Camponotus variegatus), one of too many that have taken up residence in the house. Bottom right: A rusty millipede deciding that it’s all too much!

Favorite photos from the early days

My first decent pueo photo taken on Old Saddle Road. I noticed it on the post as I drove by, then stopped, got out, and started taking photos. The bird watched me with that intent stare that they have. (Original post here.)

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Oldie-but-Goodie or Favorite Photo.’ (See more responses here.)
This seemed like a good opportunity to run a few of my favorite photos from the first year of this blog.

Hawaiian monk seals are solitary creatures, but these two spent some weeks in each others company. On the left is the female and on the right is IO5, the male I see most often up here in Kohala. (Original post here.)
A rusty millipede casts a giant shadow.
I saw this rusty millipede crossing a dirt road in the late afternoon and liked its giant shadow. This photo ran on the BBC website here. (Original post here.)
A new born calf is cleaned by his mother.
A cow cleaning her very new calf. Another photo that ran on the BBC website here. (Original post here.)
A pair of zebra doves perch on a mock orange branch
A couple of zebra doves enjoying the late afternoon sun together. (Original post here.)
Breakfast strikes back
A personal favorite, this green anole snagged a Chinese rose beetle, but the beetle did not give up. Instead, it got itself onto the anole’s nose before escaping. The anole did not look thrilled at having this incident photographed. (Original post here.)
Finally, a photo from a hike along the coast. Colorful tide pools, blue ocean, white sand – I spent a long time traversing this stretch. (Original post here.)

Rusty Millipedes mating

I saw this pair of rusty millipedes mating on a dirt road. The male is on top and can be identified by a gap in his legs at his seventh body segment. The legs have been replaces by gonopods, the male’s sexual organ which he uses to transfer sperm to the female. The sperm comes from gonopores which are located in the third segment of the body, and it must be moved to the gonopods before mating.

Giant centipede

Centipede Scolopendra subspinipes

Centipede exploringThis centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes) is also known as the Vietnamese centipede, Asian forest centipede, and Chinese red-headed centipede, among other names. Some of these names are unprintable when uttered by someone who has just been bitten by one. The bite can cause extreme pain and can be dangerous if a person is allergic to the venom, but is not generally considered life-threatening.

The venom is delivered through a pair of modified legs, known as forcipules, located just behind the centipede’s head. For this reason, it’s useful to figure out which end is the head, but this isn’t always immediately apparent, as both ends have some similarity in appearance.

The centipede is the alpha creepy-crawly here in Hawaii. This one was about five inches long, but they can be much longer. (For anyone who has the nerve to read a story — and see a photo — about one of these that measured in at 14.5 inches long, click here.)

This was a good place to spot this centipede, outdoors on a dirt road. There are few worse feelings than spotting a centipede in the house, scurrying across the floor (they move fast), and disappearing into a tiny, inaccessible crack. This means that a general understanding that centipedes live in and around dwellings is replaced by the certain knowledge that there’s one in the same room.

Since most bites occur from unexpected encounters, such as when a centipede has crawled into someone’s shoe, or in a towel, or made itself comfy in a bed, when I see a centipede inside, I usually become more vigilant for a while.

I haven’t been bitten yet, but I know the chances are it won’t happen when I see a centipede, or when I’m being vigilant. It will be when I’m engrossed in something, such as writing on my computer, and I lean back and wonder, in a last moment of innocence, ‘what the heck is that tickling my neck?’ Aaaaaaargh.

Centipede in a sandal

A centipede curled up in a sandal on the Big Island.
This is why it’s wise here to check clothes and shoes before use. Getting ready to go out for a walk, I glanced down and saw this centipede curled up in the heel of my sandal. Centipedes can give a very painful bite, so I’m told. I haven’t experienced one – yet. While this one wasn’t exactly lively, it was still alive. I can neither confirm nor deny that the poor fellow was overcome by fumes from the sandal.