Category Archives: Insects of Spain

Megarian banded centipede – Scolopendra cingulata – Escolopendra

  • Scientific: Scolopendra cingulata
  • English: Megarian Banded Centipede
  • Spanish: Escolopendra

The Megarian banded centipede – Scolopendra cingulata – Escolopendra is one of the smallest members of the scolopendra family at approximately 10-15 cm. They are easily recognised by the alternating bands of black and yellow/gold. They can be found throughout southern Europe and typically inhabit dark, damp environments such as areas beneath logs and rocks.

The head of this centipede has a pair of antennae, jaw-like mandibles, and other mouth parts. Each segment has one pair of legs. The front segment has a pair of venomous claws (called maxillipedes) that are used for both defense and for capturing and paralyzing prey.

The venom is less toxic than other scolopendrid centipedes, but they are still fast moving and can be aggressive so it’s best just to look at these colourful creatures rather than try to handle them.

scolopendra cingulata-escolopendra-megarian banded centipede
Scolopendra cingulata – Escolopendra – Megarian banded centipede
Feeding habits

They are mostly nocturnal and opportunistic carnivorous hunters, feeding on a broad variety of ground dwelling insects and carrion such as road kill. Youngsters will eat crickets, or other small insects. Adults will consume almost any creature that is not larger that itself, including large crickets, other large insects, and even small lizards.

This is a fascinating video taken by Boran Zlatarev of a Megarian banded centipede – Scolopendra cingulata – Escolopendra feeding on road kill in Spain. (Horseshoe whip snake). Most people think that these centipedes hunt and kill live prey but this video shows that opportunistic carrion is also a part of their daily diet.

See more bugs and beasties in Spain here.

Ronda Today

Everything you need to know before you visit Ronda “The city of dreams” in Andalucia.

Visit Cádiz

Planning on visiting Cádiz? Tourist information. Monuments. Hotels. Activities. City guides:

The Caminito del Rey

Find tickets for the Caminito del Rey:

Wildside Holidays – Spain

Take a trip on the Wildside! Discover the wildlife and nature of Spain, its Natural and National Parks and find the top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies.

Iberia Nature Forum

Struggling with identifying those bugs and beasties? Why not check out the Iberia nature Forum!

Hornets in Spain

Hornets are often considered pests, as they aggressively guard their nesting sites when threatened and their stings can be more dangerous than those of bees. There are now four types of hornet in Spain with three being introduced, considered invasive and a threat to endemic wildlife. (A fifth is often mentioned in the press but the Asian giant hornet (Vespa Mandarina) is NOT present in Spain).

  • Hornets (insects in the genus Vespa) are the largest in the wasp family and some species can reach up to 6 cm in length. There are around 22 species of Vespa in the world and most only occur in the tropics of Asia.
  • Like other social wasps, hornets build communal nests by chewing wood to make a papery pulp. Each nest has one queen, which lays eggs and is attended by workers that, while genetically female, cannot lay fertile eggs. Male hornets are docile and do not have stings.
  • Most species make exposed nests in trees and shrubs, but some build their nests underground or in other cavities.
Continue reading Hornets in Spain

Dangers of Pine Processionary Caterpillars

When in Spain many people may wonder about scorpions, spiders and venomous snakes and will not be aware that they are much more likely to endanger themselves and their pets by getting too close to an innocent looking line of caterpillars that can be found crossing a pavement, road or footpath during the first months of the year. So, what are the dangers of Pine Processionary Caterpillars?

First lets learn a bit about their lifecycle.
Continue reading Dangers of Pine Processionary Caterpillars

Tent-Web Spider – Cyrtophora citricola – Araña orbitela de las chumberas

  • English: Tent-Web Spider
  • Spanish: Araña orbitela de las chumberas
  • Scientific: Cyrtophora citricola
  • French: l’Épeire de l’Opuntia
  • German: Opuntienspinne
  • Portuguese: Tecedeira-colonial
  • Distribution: Almost worldwide in warm and temperate zones covering Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and US and South America.


Remember that the Tent-Web Spider – Cyrtophora citricolaAraña orbitela de las chumberas can change its color to blend in with the environment but normally, the abdomen (opisthosoma) is brown to black in colour with varied white markings and often three pairs of spots. There are three pairs of tubercles, the last being more pronounced and creating a bifurcation at the rear of the abdomen.

Continue reading Tent-Web Spider – Cyrtophora citricola – Araña orbitela de las chumberas