Tiger Centipede

This image was obtained from the Smithsonian Institution. The image or its contents may be protected by international copyright laws.
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Stout fangs on a centipede (Geophilus easoni)
Courtesy of Malcolm Storey, via BioImages - the Virtual Fieldguide (UK), CC-BY-NC-SA

About Centipedes (Class Chilopoda): Feeding

Centipedes are hunters. They wander around looking for prey in the leaves and other debris of forest floors. In some ecosystems, they are the largest invertebrate (with no backbone) predators. Centipedes can have both simple and compound eyes, or no eyes at all, but can find prey by touch and vibration. Most centipedes are able to move quickly after prey, but slower centipedes wait to ambush prey that pass nearby. Centipedes strike at their prey with claws that are fang-like, delivering venom from a gland. Not much is known about centipede venom and its effects on prey, but studies have found that that venom may affect muscles (myotoxins), nervous systems (neurotoxic), or circulatory systems (cardiotoxic). Using venom allows centipedes to attack prey that are larger than themselves, such as earthworms and beetles. Large centipedes in the tropics occasionally eat bats, birds, snakes, frogs, lizards, and small mammals.

The appendages of barnacles (Semibalanus balanoides) are hidden under hard plates
Courtesy of JC Schou, via Biopix, CC-BY-NC

About Arthropods (Phylum Arthropoda): Body Plan

Arthropods are the most successful group of organisms on Earth in terms of numbers, including almost half of all known species. The hallmark of their success is a body plan that makes them durable and adaptable. All arthropods have external skeletons made of hard material (chitin embedded in a protein matrix). The exoskeleton protects them from predators, weather conditions, and other threats. As they grow, arthropods typically shed the exoskeleton to reveal a bigger, fresh one underneath. The two lengthwise halves of an arthropod body are a mirror image of each other (bilateral symmetry) and typically divided into segments. Each segment has appendages that are specialized for the many activities of the arthropod. An arthropod may use appendages to feed (mouthparts), to breathe (gills, tracheae, book lungs), to reproduce (genitalia), and to move around (walking, swimming, flying). Having a modular body plan with multifunctional appendages has allowed arthropods to thrive in an impressive variety of environments.