Centipedes are commonly regarded with both fascination and horror. While centipedes are unpleasant to look at, it can also be hard to take one’s eyes off of their many legs and speedy movements. Centipedes are not commonly associated with venomous bugs, but they certainly should be, as centipede venom can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms in humans.
First of all, it should be understood that centipedes do not bite, not with mouthparts anyway; instead, centipedes transmit venom to humans with their forcipules. Forcipules are the “legs” of a centipede. So in a manner of speaking, centipedes bite with their legs. The forcipules puncture skin with a pincer-like feature that also releases venom into a wound. While all centipedes can bite humans, not all are dangerous. Most centipede bites are inflicted by the Cryptops species, and the Otostigmus species is responsible for around one third of all centipede bites. The particularly dangerous Scolopendra species accounts for around four percent of all centipede bites. Unfortunately, the most venomous Scolopendra species in the world is native to the southwest United States as well as northern Mexico. This centipede species is more commonly known as the Giant RedHeaded centipede, and while its venom can cause extreme pain, flu-like symptoms, and even hallucinogenic effects, experts don’t believe that this species is deadly to humans. Despite what the experts say, there exists numerous reports describing human deaths that result from Giant Redheaded Centipede bites. The Scolopendra Cataracta is another dangerous species that has only recently been discovered in Laos, and only four specimens have been recorded. This particular species may have been hard to find due to the fact that it dwells within water, but it can survive on land for an extended period of time as well. Although not much is known about this elusive centipede species, researchers do believe that its venom causes extreme pain and numerous physical symptoms that are highly unpleasant.
Have you ever heard of arthropod venom causing pleasant or euphoric effects in humans?