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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Scutigera coleoptrata in Mozambique


My Kids and I descovered a house centipede dead in our pool yesterday. We had never seen anything like it before.I did a little research and there are no reported sighting of this insect in Sub-saharan Africa. We live in a Mozambiquean city called Tete, the climate is hot(42c)and dry. In my search for some info all the sites say the samething:cool&damp places and are found in Europe and North America.

1.Is this Common for insects to be so far out of there natural habitat?

2.How did get here to Mozambique?


First, centipedes are not insects.  They are in a different class of arthropods entirely:

House centipedes are likely to turn up in almost any urban area around the globe because they easily stow away in cargo and commerce.  I'm sure they *prefer* a Mediterranean climate, but since they are often indoors, and that is the kind of climate we like, too, it isn't much of a stretch.

So, the specimen you found likely came in on some kind of product shipped from elsewhere; or perhaps the species is already established in your city and has simply escaped your notice until now.


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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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