Saturday, May 29, 2010
Caught this little bugger yesterday crawling across my floor. In japanese it is called Mukade, which means "100 legs", and in english we call it Giant japanese centipede. It was mid-sized, about 12 cms long. They do get bigger, though not as big as the desert centipedes I know from Arizona. It was unusual to see it during the daytime as they are usually active at night. They usual travel in pairs, and sure enough later I caught its mate.
Found a really nice, short video about Mukade on youtube.
Mukade are venomous and a couple of years ago I woke up in the middle of the night with the feeling that someone had put out a cigarette on my face. We found a baby centipede on the inside of the mosquito net. Ive been bitten by poisonous critters many time before,.... I slept outside many hundreds of nights in the desert, but this bite was particularly painful and the pain and swelling stayed for a full 2 weeks.
The centipede in Japan is associated with success in battle, so it was adopted as a symbol by the samurai. The great samurai Takeda Shingen had one on his battle flag, and these ceiling paintings from a small Bishamonten temple had several centipedes.
On of the Shitenno, Bishamonten is known as the god of success in battle, so the connection is obvious.