Animal Species:Scolopendrid centipedes

There are five species of Cormocephalus, in the Sydney region. They include the largest, most aggressive and most frequently noticed centipedes.

Scolopendrid Centipede

Scolopendrid Centipede
Photographer: Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies © Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies

Standard Common Name

Scolopendrid centipedes


All scolopendrid centipedes have 21 pairs of legs and the last pair is sometimes red. These last legs are longer and thicker than the other legs and are used to catch their prey.

Size range

5-10 cm


Several scolopendrid centipede species are widespread throughout Australia.


Scolopendrid centipedes live in urban areas, forests and woodlands.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Scolopendrid centipedes prefer moist conditions such as soil and leaf litter. The narrow breathing holes or spiracles along the sides of their body have a three-flapped valve and muscles that open and close the holes, making the centipedes less susceptible to drying out.

For animals that spend most of their time living in the dirt, centipedes groom and clean themselves carefully, passing all of their legs over their maxillae (mouthparts) to remove moulds and parasites.

Danger to humans and first aid

Scolopendrid centipedes may bite if disturbed or handled. The bite may cause severe pain and associated swelling. An ice pack may relieve local pain. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist.



What does this mean?

Last Updated:

Tags centipedes, scolopendrids, bites, invertebrates, arthropods, wildlife of sydney, venomous,


Ondine Evans - 10.04 AM, 21 April 2010

Hi once bitten: As we are not a medical institution, we cannot endorse any specific treatment for bites and stings. The information we have provided is very general in nature, and is based on common resources for first aid widely available on the internet such as St John Ambulance, CSL Toxinology and other reputable organisations. In general,  for any bite or sting, we recommend seeking medical attention as soon as possible.

once bitten - 2.01 PM, 24 January 2010
Having read the treatment of a centipede bite,I would like to add my recent experience with been bitten by these creatures of pain.Correct me if i,m wrong here, but a medic told me this post-bite. Apply hot water,as hot as you can stand without burning your skin, to nulify the protein toxin they inject into you.I tried an ice pack and suffered 3-4 hrs of excrciating pain and was left with a extremely swollen hand and arm from the bite for two days! They also love to hide indoors in clothing which is how i got bitten. Hope this helps any future recipients of these nasties.
Louise Carter - 1.08 PM, 11 August 2009
Hi Kell,this genera has lots of different species so it could be a number of different things, which is why there is no species name given. I can't tell if is aurantipes with out having the specimen. Thanks for uploading the photos.
kell - 3.08 PM, 07 August 2009
Picture # 2. Lens cap is 55 mm wide. Making centipede 125 mm long. Deleted my second comment. Same Picture twice.

Comment Attachment

kell - 6.08 PM, 04 August 2009
Hi Yall, I notice in the Classification above there is no Species named? But when I click on [What does this mean?] I see you mention species but you don’t mention which one. Am I correct in assuming it is a aurantipes ? Thanks in advance kell.

Comment Attachment

Report misuse