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Science File / An exploration of issues and trends
affecting science, medicine and the environment | Science
in Brief

I Didn't Know That

September 03, 1998

Q: Do centipedes really have 100 legs?

A: A few do, but the actual number of legs can vary from as few as 30 to as many as 346, said entomologist Gilbert Waldbauer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Millipedes, whose name suggests that they have 1,000 legs, actually have as few as 80 or as many as 400. Centipedes have one pair of legs on each body segment. So do millipedes, but each two segments are covered by a hard shield, so it looks like there are two pairs per segment.

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