Do Centipedes have Eyes? Centipede Vision Explained 2023

Centipedes are from the Chilopoda class that have been roaming on Earth since the Late Silurian period. There are more than 8,000 species of centipede found all over the world except in Antarctica

Centipedes are one of the most common insect predators that usually feed on rats, bugs, spiders, etc. Everyone has already seen centipedes in their house, so have you ever wondered whether they have eyes or how they see? If yes, then below is the answer.

The answer to the question, “Do Centipedes have eyes,” is: Most species of centipedes do not have eyes. They use their antenna to sense the environment. However, some species like Scutigeromorpha and Scolopendromorpha have eyes capable of discerning light and dark. Centipedes do not have true vision, meaning they see the world in a blur and discern based on the brightness of the light.  

Later in this post, we have discussed more Centipedes’ eyes and their vision in detail. So, without any further ado, let’s begin.

Do Centipedes have Eyes?

Only some species of Centipedes have eyes; however, their eyes only assist them in sensing the brightness of the light. It does not provide them true vision. Centipedes are primarily divided into five categoriesScutigeromorpha, Lithobiomorpha, Craterostigmomorpha, Scolopendromorpha, and Geophilomorpha

Among them, only Scutigeromorpha have the original compound eyes. They do not follow the underground lifestyle like other centipede species; they have compound eyes containing nearly 200 optical units. It assists them in detecting the brightness of the environment as well as the movement of small insects.

On the other hand, the Lithobiomorpha group does not have compound eyes. They have groups of simple eyes (ocelli) with very poor eyesight. They primarily track their prey through the use of touch and smell. Also, their antennae play a crucial role in recognizing the environment.

Craterostigmomorpha and Geophilomorpha are eyeless and completely blind. Their first pair of legs at the head end acts as the sensing organ similar to antennae. 

They primarily dwell underground where there is complete darkness, and eyesight does not play any role. Therefore, to survive in these types of conditions, they evolved their legs and antennae as the sense organs.

Centipedes eyes
Scolopendra cingulata have four ocelli (simple eyes)

At last, Scolopendridae has four ocelli (simple eyes) on each side of the head, helping to perceive the light and dark in the environment. With this, they can estimate whether it’s daytime or night.

Are Centipedes blind?

Most species of centipedes are completely blind. Many centipedes are nocturnal and live underground where there is complete darkness, and eyesight does not play many roles there. 


Hence, to survive, they evolved other sensing organs that help them to navigate in the complete darkness, track prey, and sense predators. 

Centipedes use their legs, head-ends, antennae, and Tömösváry organs to perceive the surroundings and carry out their daily activity. Also, some species like Scutigeromorpha with compound eyes have very poor eyesight compared to us. They have a very hazy vision that discerns between light and dark and sense movements.

Can Centipedes see in the Dark?

Centipedes can easily sense in the dark. They majorly live in dark and moist environments. With the help of their primary sense organs like antennae and legs, they can easily navigate even in complete darkness. They do not need eyesight like humans to see the entities in the dark. 

Also, some species use the first pair of legs as the sensing organs. In addition, centipedes have the last pair of legs, long and slender, that look like antennae. It also helps them to navigate. Centipedes are nocturnal insects; hence they mainly search for their food at night.

What to do when you see a Centipede?

Sighting a centipede indicates your home has pestilence and hygiene issues. 

If you see a House Centipede in your house, then instead of slaughtering it, eliminate its food.

House Centipede Eyes
House Centipede

House Centipedes feed on household pests like spiders, silverfish, ants, cockroaches, etc. So, to eliminate the pest, make sure to seal off any cracks in your home and dry off the moisture in your walls.

Remove all the debris that will take unnecessary space. By eliminating house pests, these centipedes will not come to your home.

Also, if you see wild or venomous centipedes, then it’s better to vacuum up and then seal and dispose of the vacuum bag.

Here, we conclude our article on “Do Centipedes have Eyes,” along with answering other related queries. We hope you like it. We will be back with another post. Till then, stay tuned with us and read the articles mentioned below.


House Centipede by Australian Museum

Science Direct


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