A House Guest
December 6, 2015
Very often here in Portland, I will have a person animatedly try to explain a kind of ‘bug’ they’ve seen in their house. There are key phrases I listen for: “It was really big.” (giant house spider) “It was black and kinda nasty” (european rove beetle called a devil’s coach horse) or “It has these stripe-y long horns.” (banded alder borer)
But if I hear about something fast that moves creepy with lots of legs that is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before, then I KNOW it’s a house centipede. I’d not seen one in my current house, until a few weeks ago. I was sitting at my kitchen table, chatting with a friend when she reached down to get bag and jumped a bit. I looked down and saw a small house centipede. I immediately swooped down and grabbed it (a feat in itself- they are fast!) and looked around frantically for something to put it in. I knew I wanted to keep it alive until I could photograph it, so I put it into a tupperware filled with soil that we keep our isopods in.
House centipedes have long, thin highly bent legs. Since they are centipedes there is one pair of legs per body segment (as opposed to two pairs on each segment of millipedes) -however these are so fast and the legs are so close together you can’t really tell when they are moving.