Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mukade Giant Japanese Centipede


Caught this little bugger yesterday crawling across my floor. In japanese it is called Mukade, which means "100 legs", and in english we call it Giant japanese centipede. It was mid-sized, about 12 cms long. They do get bigger, though not as big as the desert centipedes I know from Arizona. It was unusual to see it during the daytime as they are usually active at night. They usual travel in pairs, and sure enough later I caught its mate.

Found a really nice, short video about Mukade on youtube.


Mukade are venomous and a couple of years ago I woke up in the middle of the night with the feeling that someone had put out a cigarette on my face. We found a baby centipede on the inside of the mosquito net. Ive been bitten by poisonous critters many time before,.... I slept outside many hundreds of nights in the desert, but this bite was particularly painful and the pain and swelling stayed for a full 2 weeks.


The centipede in Japan is associated with success in battle, so it was adopted as a symbol by the samurai. The great samurai Takeda Shingen had one on his battle flag, and these ceiling paintings from a small Bishamonten temple had several centipedes.


On of the Shitenno, Bishamonten is known as the god of success in battle, so the connection is obvious.


  1. While trekking in the Laotian we came across a centipede the size of a bratwurst. F'ing huge. A villager told us that these guys have a sting that is quick and lethal. The hill people keep a pinch opium in their hipbag, which acts as antivenom...

  2. Remins me "bad" memories. My eyes are bad. I need to take my glasses off to take a shower. Once, in Nara just before wiping my face after a shower a black thing fell from it, making noise on the floor. It was one of those giant centipedes...

  3. Kinda reminds me of when we moved up to the Barossa Valley (here in South Australia) - first day when we were moving our furniture into our house I discovered (by accident) a 10cm long centipede in my bed. Oooooh... gives me the willies just thinking about it.

    The land up there is very reactive, so come summer time, it just cracks open and the big arse centipedes live in the cracks. Not sure what they do for accomodation during the winter!

  4. Ugh, I woke up with a similar feeling a couple of years ago, when one got me on the stomach. Yes, quite painful.

  5. A little bugger? I think it's a huge one ! I can't believe it! I just hate this kind of insects.