This foreboding image of the fangs of the centipede, Lithobius erythrocephalus, won 13th place at the 2016 Nikon Small World Photomicrography contest. The use of digital stacking keeps the details of the fangs in focus as well as the mouth cavity below. The opening of the mouth has spines that can be used to grasp prey. The mouthparts in the background are used to bite chunks that can be swallowed. Many of the hairs contain receptors responsive to touch, odors or taste.
The fangs of centipedes are modified legs that are heavily sclerotized and sharp at the tips. At the base is a venom gland. The venom can quickly immobilize prey to make handling easier. For people bit by a centipede, the venom can cause intense “bee-sting-like” pain.
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