Centipedes belong to the class Chilopoda. They have segmented bodies with one pair of legs on almost every segment. They live in damp environments and eat spiders and insects.
Centipedes are nocturnal – they are active at night. During the day most centipedes hide under rocks, logs, or dead leaves. In subdivisions centipedes hide under firewood piles, doghouses, and flowerbed mulch.
Centipede reproductive cycles depend on the location. In the southern states, centipedes are active all year. In these areas, reproduction happens throughout the year.
In the northern states, centipedes spend the winter in their hiding places. They become active again in the spring. In these areas, reproduction happens during the spring.
In many areas of the country, the house centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata, spends the whole year inside garages, basements, and crawl spaces. In these environments, it can usually stay active all year.
Centipede reproduction begins when the male produces a small mass of sperm. Some centipede males perform a courtship ritual. In other species, males simply set the mass down for the female to find. The female centipede takes the sperm and fertilizes the eggs.
Female centipedes deposit the eggs into the soil. The stone centipedes deposit their eggs in holes and cover them up. House centipedes also deposit their eggs in holes and cover them up.
Soil centipedes and tropical centipedes deposit their eggs in a small nest. The nest is usually in the soil, but they also make nests in rotting logs. The female centipedes of these groups stay with their eggs. They clean the eggs until they hatch.
The time for the eggs to develop seems to depend on the temperature. The eggs can develop in about a month, or they can take several months to develop.
When the eggs hatch, the immature centipedes look like small versions of adults. Some species have the same number of body segments when they hatch as they do as adults. Other species have fewer body segments as nymphs than they do as adults. Immature house centipedes start with four body segments. As they develop, they add body segments and legs each time they shed their skin.
The centipede reproductive cycles from egg to maturity seems to very. Some centipede species mature in about a year. Others reach maturity in 2-3 years. Many centipedes live for 5-6 years.