beneath the integument. It consists of a series of chambers corresponding roughly to the leg-bearing segments, and lies in a blood-sinus formed by a pericardial membrane whence large alary muscles extend to the sides of the body. Each chamber gives off in Scolopendra a pair of fine lateral vessels, and is furnished at its posterior extremity with a pair of orifices by which the blood re-enters the organ from the pericardial space. From the anterior chamber, which lies in the first or second leg-bearing segment, proceed three arteries, a median which runs forwards into the head to supply the brain and other organs, and a lateral which with its fellow of the opposite side forms an oesophageal aortic collar. From the sides of the latter arise vessels to the gnathites, and from its inferior portion an unpaired vessel passes forwards into the head and another backwards above the nerve chord to the posterior end of the body, supplying each segment in its course with a delicate lateral branch. In Scolopendra the chambers of the heart, excepting the first and last, which are small, are subequal in size; but in forms like Scutigera where the terga are very unequal in size a corresponding inequality in the size of the chambers is manifested.
|A after Newport, Phil. Trans., 1843. B after Haase, Zool. Beitrage, i. pt. 65, 1884, by permission of J.N. Kern. C after Haase, loc. cit.|
|A, Anterior extremity of Scolopendra, showing two chambers of the heart (h), the aortic ring (a), the alae cordis (a.m) and a cardiac orifice (o).||B, Two segments of Scolopendra, showing the branching and anastomosing tracheae and a spiracle (sp).||C, A pair of tufted tracheae of Scutigera. d, Dorsal plate; t.s, tracheal sac; tr, tracheal tubes.|
In all centipedes, except Scutigera, respiration is effected by chitinized tracheal tubes which extend with their ramifications throughout the body and open to the exterior by means of spiracles perforating the lateral or pleural membrane of more or fewer of the somites below the edge of the terga. Spiracles are never present upon the anal, genital and last leg-bearing somites, and only rarely, as in Henicops, upon the somite bearing the legs of the first pair. In the majority of cases the spiracles are circular, sigmoid or slit-like orifices, with chitinized rim, leading into a pocket-like integumental infolding, from which emanate numerous small tracheal tubes which soon anastomose to form the main tracheal trunks. In Dacetum, one of the Scolopendridae, there is no pocket-like infolding, the small tracheal tubes opening direct to the exterior on a large subcircular plate where their apertures fuse to form a complicated network. The apertures, as in the case of other genera, are protected by fine hairs; and the tracheae themselves are strengthened by a fine spiral filament. In the Lithobiidae the tracheae do not anastomose; but in Scolopendra and Geophilus the main trunks in each segment fuse transversely with those of the opposite side and also longitudinally with those of the preceding and succeeding segments.
In Scutigera the tracheae differ both in structure and position from those of all other Chilopoda. The spiracles, unpaired and seven in number, open in the median dorsal line. Each leads into a short sac from which five tracheal tubes depend into the pericardial blood-sinus.
Existing Chilopoda may be classified as follows, into five orders referable to two subclasses—
Subclass I. Pleurostigma.
Order 1 Geophilomorpha.
" 2 Scolopendromorpha.
" 3 Craterostigmomorpha.
" 4 Lithobiomorpha.
Subclass II. Notostigma.
Order 5 Scutigeromorpha.
Subclass 1, Pleruostigmata.—Chilopods furnished with a rich system of branching tracheal tubes, the spiracles of which are paired and open upon the pleural area of more or fewer of the somites. Each leg-bearing somite contains a distinct tergum and sternum, the number of sterna never exceeding that of the terga. Eyes are either preserved or lost; when preserved they are represented either by a single one-lensed ocellus or by an aggregation of such ocelli on each side of the head. The anterior portion of the head, bearing the labrum, is bent sharply downwards and backwards beneath the larger posterior portion lying behind the antennae, so that these appendages, approximated in the middle line, project directly forwards from the margin of the head formed by this retroversion of the labral area. The maxillae are short and have no sensory organ; the palpognaths consist of four segments, and the toxicognaths have their basal segments fused to form a single coxal plate.
Order 1. Geophilomorpha.—Chilopods with a large and indefinite number of somites, most of which are partially or completely divided into a smaller anterior segment, represented by a pretergal and two presternal sclerites, and a larger posterior segment bearing the spiracles and legs. Spiracles are present upon all the leg-bearing somites except the first and last; and the legs which are short and subequal in length consist of six segments, the basal of which remains small. There are no eyes, and the antennae consist invariably of fourteen segments. The tergal plate of the somite bearing the toxicognaths always remains distinct and separates the head-shield from the tergum of the first leg-bearing somite. The penultimate and antepenultimate segments of the toxicognaths are reduced on the preaxial side of the appendage to the condition of arthrodial integumental folds and suppressed on the postaxial side where the distal segment or fang is firmly jointed to the femoral segment. In the last leg-bearing somite the pleural sclerites coalesce with the coxa of the appendage; but the second segment (trochanter) of this appendage does not fuse with the third (femur). The genital and anal somites are not retractile within the last leg-bearing somite, and the gonopods typically persist in the male as small two-jointed appendages and in the female as jointed or unjointed sclerites. The young are hatched with the full number of segments.
Remarks.—The Geophilomorpha are universally distributed in suitable localities. The number of families into which the order should be divided is as yet unsettled, some authors admitting several groups of this rank, others referring all the genera to a single family, Geophilidae. In habits the Geophilidae are mostly subterranean, living in the earth and feeding principally upon earthworms. Occasionally they may be found eating fruit or fungi, probably for the sake of moisture. Although without eyes, they are extremely sensitive to light, and when exposed to it crawl away in serpentine fashion to the nearest sheltered spot, feeling the way with their antennae. They