Scutigera coleoptrata

(House Centipede)

(Centipede Varileg)

folded from an uncut square
designed by Brian Chan
May 2005



This formidable creature is the common house centipede, found in many parts of the world. It is immediately differentiable from most other centipedes by its enormously long legs, which are longer toward the back. The variable leg length presents a good origami challenge, especially if one is to fold this monster from a square. The good thing about this model is that it has fifteen pairs of legs, fewer than most other centipedes. The two longest appendages are the hind legs, which act like a 'rear antenna' while the centipede feels its way around the dark. The long legs not only allow the centipede to run very fast, but also act as tripwires to sense its prey.

At first I tried to use irregular box pleating, cramming squares and rectangles together, but the crease pattern got too complex. Then I switched to triangle molecules, and finally (for ease of folding) quadrilateral molecules much like in the CP for the centipede in Dr. Lang's book Origami Insects II. This first version is honestly just a proof of concept - the segments on the back were formed in a process more like papier mache than legit origami.

The ones in real life are only two inches long and completely harmless. They make good pets if you can supply them with little insects to eat. It is amusing to watch them pounce instantly on their prey.

For more on how I came up with the design, see:

Designing Scutigera coleoptrata (COMING SOON)

Crease Pattern

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