3 Sep 2014, 10:25am

Silent in the Night

“So you’re relaxing at your South Hillside home in Anchorage when you look outside and see…a lynx? That’s exactly what happened to JoAnn Cunningham one Sunday” last December. The video. “Luckily my schnauzer and cat were inside at the time,” Cunningham says.

To me it is a joyful crossing paths to see any life, moss or crow, beetle or hopping spider. I’m a fan of life. Always have been. It distressed the folks as a kid as I sheltered mice or snakes or insects. For them nature is the sinister to be conquered.

I can see the logic of we build indoors so we don’t have to do outdoors. I’m tired of wee things biting me. But that said, there are so many fantastic beauties that we get to time share space with. A gift in this land so sloughed of life with our concrete and spraying programmes.

The house centipede being nocturnal, I didn’t know it was there. It is a tiny predator, hunter of spiders, silverfish, ants, bedbugs and moths. An entire ecosystem checking each other.

It looks like a deep sea creature. It can scuttle at 0.4m/second which is another reason why you’re unlikely to see it. Yes, it can sting but we don’t look like lunch, and it’s up to us if we force defensiveness.

house centipede
I scared the wee thing with my hunched relative several tonne form looming with a flashlight. It ran back and forth. Sorry fella. Just wanted to get a look.

Centipede is hyperbole. They never get to a hundred legs. This one seems about mid-life with 13 pairs. So halfway from a lifespan of 3-7 years. According to wikipedia,

They gain a new pair with the first molting, and two pairs with each of their five subsequent moltings. Adults with 15 pairs of legs retain that number through three more molting stages (sequence 4-5-7-9-11-13-15-15-15-15 pairs).

Millipedes are also exaggerated. Eathlife says “if you want to know how many legs a millipede has you can count the number of body segments, multiply by 4 and subtract 10 unless it is a member of the colobgnatha in which case you only subtract 8.” They have at least 9 pairs. There are over 10,000 named species of millipedes.

House centipedes by comparison, with their up to 3″ long antennae, look delicate for all their lassoing of prey pierce and fierce hunting. They also fastidiously self-groom. They look flashy compared to the more common cryptopid centipede found around fallen logs. Not sure if it’s range is here. It looks similar.

House Centipedes cannot be tight assed as they can’t clench. See,

Centipede respiratory systems do not provide any mechanism for shutting the spiracles, and that is why they need an environment that protects them from dehydration and excessive cold.

So as a kicker to this post, and it’s unfortunate that I have to say this explicitly, but no negs. No suggestions of harm to the creature. If you are bound to your hatred and fear as your identity, just come back when there’s a new post. No sharing of fear. Do that at your own site according to your need.

But back to the centipede. Mating is a bit detached and anti-climatic after the dance.

To begin mating, the male and female circle around each other. They initiate contact with their antennae. The male deposits his sperm on the ground and the female then uses it to fertilize her eggs.

Which I suppose is better? Well, different from Australia’s shrew-like black-tailed antechinus which takes 11 months to get to sexual maturity then has sex 12-14 hours a day then the male dies of internal bleeding from the franticness before it reaches a year old. The Antechinus female generally lives 2-3 years.

So many forms of life.

I once thought I’d like to study biology or hard science but was blocked by internalized anti-science fundamentalism and medieval ideas of being tested by Satan planting false evidence, pushed by a belief that I was destined for Bible translation. I liked the idea of science but I couldn’t abide the idea of evolution or animal dissection long enough to get to the other side of where formal observations could happen.

Where you start doesn’t determine where you stay.

If I had not been superstitiously moving through prayer sessions to decide my post-secondary, I wouldn’t have encountered hubby.

If we had not both been raised with the notion of church going we wouldn’t have met.

If I had not been inculcated on religion, I wouldn’t have sought refuge among believers who I felt were also oppressed minorities in a hostile anti-Christian world.

Because of this broken path, I intersected the life of who was to become the hubby who encouraged rationalism as well as being one of the kindest humans I’d met.

The wild-eyed, If.

If something that didn’t occur, did. If something that might occur did, except it didn’t.

A nonsense haranger that word. It’s scare quotes without any substantiated quotes.

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