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(division Opisthogoneata), a class of arthropods [including the centipedes], considered by some zoologists to be a subclass of Myriopoda.
The body of Chilopoda is highly elongated, from several millimeters in length to 25–30 cm; it is divided into a head and a segmented trunk, with a pair of appendages on each segment. There is a pair of cirri on the head and on each of its sides a group of simple eyes. The mouth parts are a pair of mandibles and two pairs of maxillae. The legs of the first trunk segment are raptorial and directed forward. At the base of the terminal segment of these legs there is a poison gland that opens at the claw. The gland secretion serves both to kill the prey and to defend against enemies. Respiration is accomplished through a tracheal system. The female winds herself around the deposited eggs, guarding them and then guarding the young during the initial period after hatching. The Chilopoda are divided into four orders—Geophilo-morpha, blind soil forms with a large number of segments (35–177); Scolopendromorpha, many of which are poisonous to humans; Lithobiomorpha; and Scutigeromorpha. More than 2,000 species are known; they are found chiefly in the tropics. All are predaceous.
REFERENCESRukovodstvo po zoologii, vol. 3, part 2. Moscow, 1951.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 3. Edited by L. A. Zenkevich. Moscow, 1969.
M. S. GILIAROV