Life Cycle

The life of a centipede begins as an egg; each generation the mother produces anywhere from 15-60 eggs. Scolopendra centipedes display maternal characteristics by caring for their eggs. They stay near them and care for the newly hatched until they are ready to leave. It takes almost a year for centipedes to reach full grown maturity, but they are ready to leave the mother in a matter of weeks. S.gigantea and other centipedes do not undergo metamorphosis, meaning a newly born centipede simply looks like smaller adult. Centipedes have a hard external covering called an exoskeleton. This covering does not grow with them, so every so often they must molt: a process by which they shed their skin and quickly regenerate a new covering. This covering has 4 layers to maximize protection:

Displaying the size of the creature.

1. The epicuticle: this layer protects against water loss in the organism.
2. The procuticle: composed of chitin fibers and a protein matrix, this provides the hardness  and rigidity of the exoskeleton
3. The epidermis: secretes the layers above it.
4. Basement membrane: provides additional support for the exoskeleton.

Upon numerous molts, and roughly a year the centipede reaches reproductive age. Here it will produce a spermatophore, which is a capsule of sperm in which the female will engulf. This spermatophore is left for a female to find, no mating occurs. In tropical areas, such as the ones S.gigantea inhabits, there is no set breeding season, it simply occurs when the male/female reaches age. Once impregnated, the cycle begins anew, with the mother laying and caring for the young. S.gigantea have one of the longer life spans of centipedes, averaging around 6 years!

To Morphology!