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CENTIPEDE


Scolopendra, where there are four, the corneal lens is a biconvex thickening of the cuticle. The soft or retinal portion of the eye beneath the lens consists of an aggregation of large cells forming a single layer continuous with the epidermic cells of the circumocular area. Thus the eye is monostichous. The arrangement of the cells, however, is peculiar. They are invaginated to form what may be described as a very deep cup with exceedingly thick walls and correspondingly narrow median space, the outer surface of the cup being formed by the inner or proximal ends of the cells and the inner surface by their outer or distal ends. It results from this arrangement that the cells forming all but the bottom of the invagination lie horizontally, i.e. at right angles to the vertical axis of the eye. From the distal ends of the cells are secreted chitinous rhabdomeres, forming a rhabdom which occupies and fills up the central portion of the cup beneath the middle of the corneal lens. The outer ends of the cells are nucleated and are continuous with the fibres of the optic nerve, which passes from the outer surface of the bottom of the cup to the brain. Compound eyes are found only in the Scutigeridae. Externally the eye consists of one hundred or more little lenses or lenticles. The retinal portion is composed of a corresponding number of ocular units or ommatidia. Each ommatidium is an elongated cone with its broad extremity abutting against the corneal lenticle. It consists of a non-nucleated crystalline cone developed from embryonic cells, and is enveloped in three tiers of large nucleated cells. The cells of the outermost tier are heavily pigmented; those of the middle and innermost (proximal) tiers, the retinal cells, are at their inner extremities produced into threads continuous with the fibres of the optic nerve. In the space between these cells and the crystalline cone which they surround, there is a layer of rhabdomeres deposited apparently by the cells.

EB1911 - Centipede Fig 2. nervous system.png
A and B after Heymons, Bibl Zool, 1901, by permission of E. Nagele. Fig. 2. C after Adensamer, Verh. z. b. Verein, Vienna, 1893, pl. vii.
A, Brain of Scolopendra. n. ant, Antennal nerves; n. opt, ocular nerves; n. pr. ant, preantennal nerves; oes. comm, oesophageal commissure. B, Section of Eye of Scolopendra. len, Corneal lens; ret, retinal or visual cells; n. opt, optic nerve. C, Ocular unit or ommatidium of compound Eye of Scutigera. len, corneal lenticle; c.c, crystalline cone; 1, pigmented cells of outermost tier; 2, 3, retinular cells of middle and innermost tiers; rbd, rhabdomeres; n. opt, optic nerve; pg, pigment cells.
EB1911 - Centipede Fig. 3.png
Fig. 3. Diagram of Alimentary Canal of Lithobius.

a, Anus.
mg, Mid-Gut.
hg, Hind-Gut.
mt, Malphighian tubule.
s.gl, Salivary gland.

lg. 1, lg. 15, Legs of first and fifteenth pairs.

The alimentary canal is a simple tube running without convolutions from the mouth to the anus. Its anterior portion or pharynx, which arises from the stomodaeal invagination in the embryo, is short; a pair of large, so-called salivary glands open into it. The mesenteric part of the canal is relatively wide and receives at its junction with the hind-gut the excretory products of a pair of very long and slender malpighian tubes of proctodaeal origin. The posterior end of the canal, arising from the proctodaeum, is relatively short and narrow.

The generative organs vary in structural details in different centipedes. In the male of Lithobius the testes consist of a single coiled tube lying above the alimentary canal. The slender vas deferens which proceeds from its hinder end divides posteriorly into a right and left branch, embracing the gut and uniting beneath it to form a common chamber or atrium within the genital orifice. The atrium receives the secretion of two pairs of large accessory glands; and a pair of tubes, or vesiculae seminales, open, one on each side, into the divided sperm ducts close to their point of origin above the intestine. The organs of the female are very similar. There is a large median ovary followed by a short oviduct forming a circum-intestinal collar and a common atrium. Into the latter open a pair of short receptacula seminis and the slender duct of two pairs of large accessory glands. There is nothing in the female corresponding to the supra-intestinal vesiculae seminales of the male. In the male of Scolopendra, on the contrary, there are as many as twelve pairs of somewhat sausage-shaped testes, approximated two by two. From each pair proceed two slender ducts which open into a median duct coiled in the posterior third of the body and much expanded in the last three of the leg-bearing segments. The right and left portions of the intestinal ring of the genital duct are unequally developed, and there are no vesiculae seminales, but two pairs of accessory glands communicate with the genital atrium as in Lithobius. In the female Scolopendra the right and left portions of the intestinal collar are also unequally developed, and only a single pair of accessory glands besides the receptacula seminis open into the atrium.

EB1911 - Centipede Fig 2. reproductive organs.png
After Heymons, Bibl. Zool. 1901, by permission of E. Nagele.
Fig. 4.—Posterior portion of generative organs of male of Scolopendra (A), of female (B). t, Testes; v.d, vas deferens; ov, ovary; r.s, receptaculum seminis; gl. acc, accessory glands; g.o, generative orifice.

The heart is tubular and lies in the middle dorsal line immediately