New species of swimming giant centipede discovered in Thailand


Months after a “walking fish” was discovered, scientists have found a previously unknown species of amphibious centipede in Thailand.

National Geographic notes that the amphibious centipede is a member of the Scolopendra and can reach 20 centimetres in length. The swimming centipede can be found in streams in mainland Southeast Asia.

The discovery began in 2001 when George Beccaloni, an entomologist from the Natural History Museum in London, was on his honeymoon in Thailand.

“Wherever I go in the world, I always turn over rocks beside streams, and that’s where I found this centipede, which was quite a surprise”, Beccaloni said to National Geographic.

“It was pretty horrific-looking: very big with long legs and a horribly dark, greenish-black color”, he said. He took the create in a container filled with water and took it to the museum.

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Years passed and Beccaloni, with colleague Gregory Edgecombe and his Thai student Warut Siriwut, took part in an expedition to hunt for a new species of centipede. The trio acquired two centipedes near a waterfall in Laos, and named them Scolopendra cataracta, derived from the Latin term for “waterfall”.

The centipede’s venom is not deadly, but it can penetrate the skin and cause agony for days. Currently, there are four species of the centipede displayed at the museum, with the first one discovered in Vietnam in 1928.

Beccaloni theorized that there’s a “whole other range of interesting amphibious things that come out at night”, and Mother Nature has a lot of wonders waiting to be discovered by scientists.

In March, another group of scientists discovered Cryptotora thamicola, a type of waterfall cavefish, in Thailand.

Next time you take a dip in a river or stream in Thailand, be careful!