Brown centipede uses a weird body motion to swim, not its many legs

Some centipedes swim by undulating their whole bodies from tail to head, the opposite direction that snakes and eels use, which helps cut down the drag created by their many legs

Life 27 October 2022

Centipede,Poisonous animal swimming in creek at deep forest,Chaloem Phra Kiat Thai Prachan National park,Thailand.; Shutterstock ID 1044292291; purchase_order: -; job: -; client: -; other: -

Brown centipedes swim across water with a weird wiggle

Shutterstock/Narupon Nimpaiboon

Some centipedes don’t swim by paddling their many legs, but by wiggling their body from tail to head – the opposite direction of motion that snakes use to move across water.

Kelimar Diaz at the Georgia Institute of Technology and her colleagues used high-speed cameras to observe how brown centipedes (Lithobius forficatus) move across the surface of water. Brown centipedes are found in the UK and North America, and don’t live up to their name – each centipede has just 28 …

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