Allothereua maculata Click to enlarge image
House Centipede, Allothereua maculata Image: Andrew Donnelly
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    maculata
    Genus
    Allothereua
    Family
    Scutigeridae
    Order
    Scutigeromorpha
    Subclass
    Notostigmophora
    Class
    Chilopoda
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    2.5 cm

Introduction

An Australian native, the House Centipede is the most common 'scutigeromorph' centipede throughout southern Australia.

Identification

Centipedes are divided into five groups and the scutigeromorphs are the only centipedes with faceted or compound eyes. Other centipedes have a single-lens eye (ocellus) on each side of the head, a small cluster of ocelli, or no eyes at all. House centipedes look different to other centipedes. They have 15 pairs of long, jointed legs and whip-like antennae. The last pair of legs is so long and slender that they look like antennae and, were it not for their prominent eyes, it would be difficult to distinguish which end was which at first sight.

Habitat

House Centipedes live in urban areas, forests and woodlands. This species is mostly encountered indoors.

Distribution

House Centipedes are found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Other house centipedes in Sydney include the European House Centipede (Scutigera coleoptera), which is native to Spain but has been introduced nearly worldwide.

Feeding and diet

House Centipedes eat spiders and many insects found inside houses, moving quickly and pouncing on their prey.

Danger to humans

Technically, House Centipedes can bite but they are considered harmless to people.