Cleaning up the compost heap, starring Cormocephalus nitidus and a stinkbug

in #butterflydaylast year (edited)

cormocephalus nitidus.jpg

I'm cleaning up a corner of my garden where I have been dumping all the leftovers of the invasive alien plants that I am removing bit by bit. There were some well-rotted logs from the tree I cut down and as I turned one over, I was surprised to find this mother Red Legged centipede cradling her ball of eggs. I didn't know that centipedes took care of their eggs although apparently once they hatch, they need to run away from mama as fast as possible because she may just snack on them.

Cormocephalus nitidus is one of the African giant centipedes and very common at my place. Although centipedes have a painful bite and are venomous, the level of revulsion they inspire it out of proportion to the danger that they actually represent. It's extremely rare for people to actually die of a centipede bite, complications are usually caused by allergic reactions to the venom, not the venom itself.
Despite the horror stories about centipedes, they are shy and don't usually bite unless trapped. I get really mad when my tenants insist on killing all the creepy-crawlies they encounter in the yard. I have very large spiders, snakes, scorpions and giant centipedes in my garden but I see no reason to kill any of them as none of these creatures is seriously venomous although fear and ignorance will win every time. I am keen on these giant centipedes because they eat the invasive garden snails, a large nuisance at my place that I will not poison, because of the tiny native snails that are also found there. There is space for every predator in my garden

cormocephalus nitidus2.jpg
Moving away slowly, cradling her ball of eggs in her front legs and holding on to the wood with her back legs. To give an idea of size, she's at least 10cm long

Mother centipede was much more interested in cradling her ball of eggs instead of rushing round madly like these centipedes usually do so I was able to put a handful of compost onto my palm and transfer her on to it and relocate her to a quieter corner where she won't be disturbed as I continue cleaning up the mess.

while I was sitting in the shade I ended up with a creature I fear much more on my jeans although I just transferred it to the grass. I detest the smell of stink bugs. Dalsira costalis is another frequent visitor to the garden and a fairly attractive specimen. They are quite funny to watch because they wave their antennae up and down in an alternating pattern as they walk

stinkbug.jpg

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Great photos!
I did not know that millipedes can protect their eggs.
This is really interesting!

I also didn't know until I found these. Not all kinds of centipedes do, though

That was good luck!

That centipede is creepy and cool at the same time! Awesome shots with the eggs too! I agree that I would not want to harm it but the stinkbugs are my enemy..can't stand them. 😧

Something like that, yes :)


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Thanks, as always

Whoa epic i've never seen centipede eggs before. I think centipedes actually let their babies feed off of their own body once they are hatched... pretty trippy

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It's also the first time I have seen them, I was looking at the arachnid forums which said that mothers may eat their offspring. There are some centipedes practicing maternal care but I don't think that Cormocephalus does so. She may also eat her eggs because I disturbed her :(

Kind of like gerbils lol.

Quite a few creatures do that when stressed

Cool photos, first off. Seriously.

Here centipedes are treated the same it seems. Killed usually. I'm not sure if our species are more or less venomous but they generally don't last long if they are found. The same with snakes and spiders although we have some incredibly deadly varieties so it's not surprising.

Anyway, I don't know much about compost heaps so I'll leave it right here.

Have a good Friday, and weekend ahead.

Thanks! Good weekend to you too

Aus does have some highly venomous creatures, for sure. No big predators but plenty of deadly small things. I try and learn to differentiate. Luckily, no hugely harmful creatures at my place although I am highly allergic to wasps so that is scary for me. I see no reason to kill them, though

All comes down to education I think, what a person was brought up to think. I understand things getting killed here, for being deadly. Yes, no big fellas here, plenty your way though yes?

Have a great weekend.

One the one hand, it's education but on the other, most people have a primal fear of these creatures. We have large predators but they are all sadly confined to game parks and similar

We have some serious ones roaming free...Crocs, bull and great white sharks...People get taken a bit. You're right though, primal fear.

OMG! How amazing that you were able to not only see that centipede but her cluster of eggs as well! What an incredible find and photos! WOW! I am not fond of stink bugs either but this one is neat looking because of the color. I really enjoyed these photos so keep them coming. Thanks for using #butterflyday tag @nikv. : )

Pleasure! I enjoy the fact that these tags exist and people use them. I have always been a fan of the little things we share our planet with

Me too, on both counts. : )

Awesome photography @nikv, I had never seen a scene like that. Congratulations.

Thank you

Hi @nikv! I just had to come back to look at this again. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

I had a centipede in my house and their fast @nikv, I caught it and released it in the back yard. Great photos. 👍

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Thanks, I'll take a look

Great moment on photograph ... never saw a centipede with eggs ...

My first time to see this as well, it seems only the giant centipede species care for their eggs

Very interesting ... and very good shots too :)

This is amazing !!

The look of this millipede is certainly not very pleasant. But probably all insects have the right to life. Nature itself determines to whom how to live.

They do a great job of eating snails so they have their place in nature

They do a great job
Of eating snails so they have
Their place in nature

                 - nikv


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Oh! You have so many alien looking animals on your garden!! May be a meteorite came down near there thousands of years ago!!

One did in fact. Although that was before there was life on earth

Hey great pictures, I liked your publication. For the next time you can attach some references about the content and so it is likely that you can receive more support in votes.

Thank you. Unfortunately there is too little information available to put good references for centipedes. I'll bear it in mind for next time


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Give you credit for respecting all the good , bad and ugly in the garden... The stink bugs all look the same except for their coloring... I have gray ones that like getting into my house..

Good old stinkbugs are universal. I have the good, the bad and the ugly in the garden... and then the cats bring it into the house :)

They bring gifts cus they love you....

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That's an amazing picture!

I saw a giant centipede in our garden the other day and was pretty happy to see it because we've been overrun with weavils and earwigs devouring all the plants this year. Then, shortly after, I overheard a conversation between two mums at gymnastics about killing one which came into the house and the other mum agreed that this was the best course of action because she believed that they could kill you! Okay, it's not comforting to see one in the house, but a dustpan and brush would have assisted with a speedy eviction.

No imaginé que estos ciempiés son venenosos. los veo en mi jardín. Pero huyen muy raudos cuando muevo el lugar donde habitan. En verdad con esas tenazas dan miedo. Me encanta esta mamá, como cuida a sus huevitos, aunque sea por el interés de comerlos cuando nazcan.

I did not imagine that these centipedes are poisonous. I see them in my garden. But they flee very fast when I move where they live. In truth with these tongs are scary. I love this mom, as she takes care of her eggs, even if it is in the interest of eating them when they are born.

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