All centipedes are predators, generally feeding on other invertebrates such as insects and spiders, although larger species will feed on small vertebrates such as lizards. They hunt using the legs on their first body segment, which are modified into poisonous fangs. There are a large number of centipede species, which are generally small, but some species reach up to 10 inches in length.
Centipedes, together with millipedes and other minor groups, are myriapods, named for their many legs. It is likely that myriapods or related species were the very first animals on land. They possess thin cuticles and require moist environments to survive.
Centipedes have a pair of legs on each of their body segments, unlike millipedes, which have two per segment. In addition to the modified fangs on the first body segment, the legs on the last body segment are usually modified to function like antennae. Centipedes have simple eyes and poor eyesight and rely on other senses to catch prey, including sensing vibrations in the earth. Most centipedes are solitary hunters, although a few species are found in groups. Many invertebrates and vertebrates prey on centipedes, and they rely on fast running, concealment and their poison fangs to protect themselves.