Centipedes are dorso-ventrally flattened, and are among the fastest
and most agile of arthropod predators. The head of a centipede has
a pair of antennae and jaw-like mandibles, and other mouthparts
that evolved from modified appendages. The most anterior trunk segment
of a centipede has a pair of venomous claws (called maxillipeds)
that are used for both defense and for capturing and paralyzing
prey. The venom can be dangerous to humans in some species. Despite
their name, which stems from the Latin words 'centi' (meaning 'hundred')
and 'ped' (meaning 'foot'), they normally have around half that,
though it is possible to find centipedes with over 200 legs.
In Japanese mythology, heroes battle with giant centipedes, which
even at mundane sizes are often thought to be connected with the
world of the dead.
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