New Species of Giant Amphibious Centipede Discovered

Posted on June 28, 2016

Scolopendra cataracta

A new species of giant centipede has been discovered. It is the first species of giant centipede that can swim and walk underwater. It can reach up to 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) in length.

National Geographic reports that the newly discovered species, Scolopendra cataracta, is found only in Southeast Asia. It is venomous and carnivorous. A research paper on the centipede was published here in the journal, ZooKeys.

The scientists named the new species after the Latin word for waterfall after finding two specimens near waterfalls in Laos. George Beccaloni of the Natural History Museum in London discovered the first specimen of the new species on his honeymoon in Thailand.

Beccaloni told National Geographic, "Wherever I go in the world, I always turn over rocks beside streams, and that's where I found this centipede, which was quite a surprise. It was pretty horrific-looking: very big with long legs and a horrible dark, greenish-black color."

Specimens of the centipede have so far been found in Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Beccaloni thinks the newly discovered species likely hunts in the water at night which makes it different from other known centipedes. A bite from Scolopendra cataracta would probably cause burning agonizing pain that could last for days, but you would live.

Photo: Warut Siriwut