|Species Type||Tropical Centipede|
|Environment||Near streams and waterfalls in Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam|
|Reproduction||Sexual; lays eggs|
|Average Length||7.9" (20cm)|
|Locomotion||On land: Moving on a multitude of legs|
In water: Eel-like undulating swimming or crawling
|Prey||Aquatic or amphibious invertebrates (presumed)|
|Distinctive Features||Only known amphibious centipede|
|First Sighting||1928 (not recognized until 2000)|
Waterfall Centipedes (Scolopendra cataracta) are a species of amphibious centipede indigenous to Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam in southeastern Asia. It is notable as being the only amphibious centipede known to exist as of February 2017, which is considered to be unusual behavior in centipedes, which typically will try to avoid water.
These centipedes are greenish-black in color and can grow to around 7.9" (200mm or 20cm) in length and have long legs. Their carapace is very hydrophobic, like a duck, in that water will roll off the exoskeleton and leave the body dry while out of water. They display an escape reaction when exposed by a rooting creature or other event, and will scurry off to attempt to take refuge underwater beneath a submerged rock instead of into a forest. They can both run along stream beds as well as swim freely through horizontal, eel-like undulations of the body.
Although their feeding behavior has not yet been directly observed, it is thought that they are nocturnal by nature and hunt aquatic or amphibious invertebrates.
- This species was the first amphibious centipede species discovered.
- It was discovered by George Beccaloni, an entomologist while on his honeymoon in Thailand, although a specimen captured in 1928 was later determined to be of this species, having prior been misidentified as another known species.