If you dislike centipedes, you’re not going to be happy.
Researchers have identified a new species of centipede, the first of its species that can swim.
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According to National Geographic, George Beccaloni of London’s Natural History Museum was on his honeymoon in Thailand in 2001 when he started lifting up rocks near streams. The entymologist found the centipede lying beneath a rock and, instead of it running into the forest, it skittered into the water and hid under a rock.
Beccaloni captured the “horrific-looking” centipede and put it into a container of water where it dived to the bottom and swam like an eel. When it was removed from the container, the water simply slid off it, leaving it dry.
He approached a centipede expert at the museum, who doubted it was of the genus Scolopendra, which are giant land-loving centipedes. So the centipede remained on a shelf for years.
But it wasn’t the end of the story.
Warut Siriwut, a colleague of Beccaloni’s, had found two specimens of centipedes in Laos near waterfalls, naming them Scolopendra cataracta. It turns out that that was the specimen Beccaloni had collected from Thailand.
There are only four known specimens of the species: the aforementioned three, as well as one collected in 1928 that had been misidentified (it had been in the museum’s collection).
And of course, as with all centipedes, this new species is venomous, though its sting wouldn’t kill you. It would merely leave you in pretty significant pain. Oh, and they can grow u p to 20 cm long. Seems like the stuff of nightmares.
The findings were published in ZooKeys.