Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Still Video Clip

I almost titled this post "A Remarkable Piece of Engineering" or "A Remarkable Piece of Architecture," but those titles implied the existence of an engineer or architect, and I don't believe this critter was designed with forethought. Instead, it was a product of the greatest story on Earth, natural selection. I decided to call it a still video clip because I don't yet have the facility (in both senses of the word) to produce videos but the experience of taking a rapid sequence of stills of this critter felt like shooting a video. You'll have to use your imagination to get the video effect. I suggest clicking on each photo, once or twice, from the top down, and studying the details.
When I first turned over the 2-foot long piece of 2x6, I startled the centipede, but it was still cool enough that it didn't immediately run for cover. I carefully replaced the board then ran for my camera. When I got back, it was still there. It rather slowly (for a centipede) searched around in several directions for a place to find another dark hiding place. In some of the photos the head is a bit blurry while the tail is sharply focused, indicating that the head end was waving about, left and right, while the eyes and antennae participated in the search. Once it decided which way to run, it straightened out and sped up. This gave me the opportunity to enjoy the wave pattern of its many legs (or are they arms?). As I've written here before, it is quite interesting to compare the wave pattern of centipedes and millipedes.
Did you hear the one about the two centipedes in love who went for a walk hand in hand in hand in hand in hand.....?

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