“Do millipedes have a million legs?”

A female Illacme millipede with 618 legs. (Photo: Marek, P.; Shear, W.; Bond, J. [2012] via Creative Commons/Wikipedia)

A female Illacme millipede with 618 legs. (Photo: Marek, P.; Shear, W.; Bond, J. [2012] via Creative Commons/Wikipedia)

You may recall that about two weeks ago, The Eight-Year-Old wanted to know whether centipedes really had 100 legs. (Answer: Very few have exactly 100 legs, some have more, some have less.)

When I finished explaining that to The Eight-Year-Old, she naturally wanted to know if that meant millipedes had a million legs. It took an inordinately long time to convince her that “milli-” actually meant one thousand, and not one million (we were walking to school at the time, so we didn’t have a dictionary available to back my assertion up). Eventually, she agreed, quite reluctantly, to accept for the sake of argument that “milli-” meant a mere thousand. But by that time, we were at school and there was simply no time left to discuss millipede legs.

I had evaded the icky bug question for another day, I thought.

Of course, you know The Eight-Year-Old. As soon as I picked her up from school, she wanted to know what I’d found out.

The Eight-Year-Old: “So do millipedes have a million legs, Mommyo?”

Thankfully, no. According to Wikipedia, most millipedes have between 34 and 400 legs. The Illacme plenipes millipede, found in California, has the most legs of any creature in the world. They can grow to have up to 750 legs.

You, like The Eight-Year-Old, may recall from our previous post that centipedes can have anywhere from 30 to 354 legs as well.

So naturally The Eight-Year-Old had a question. “Mommyo, what’s the difference between centipedes and millipedes?”

Ugh. I knew that was coming. “That, my dear, is a question for another day.”

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What’s The Eight-Year-Old reading this week?

June 26 Collage
Our mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Eight-Year-Old’s desk. This week, The Eight-Year-Old rereads an old favorite, finds the best book ever, and discovers a hidden treasure in the Goodwill Book Bin. 

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Wordless Wednesday: Helpfulness, according to cats

(Photo: Shala Howell)

(Photo: Shala Howell)

Look, Cat Mom, isn’t this great? I’ve sorted all the plastic bags for you.

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The Eight-Year-Old redraws famous works of art with tigers: The Tigery’s Scream

Edvard Munch, The Scream. Painted in 1893.

Edvard Munch, The Scream. Painted in 1893.

Earlier this summer, The Eight-Year-Old stumbled onto the concept of derivative art. She looks up various works of art on her Daddyo’s iPad, then redraws them as portraits of Tigery. You can see her first effort, the Tigery a Lisa, here. This week, The Eight-Year-Old and her buddy Tigery are reworking Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

Like any serious artist, The Eight-Year-Old first draws a study for her work, before attempting the final version. After some discussion, she agreed to let me use her works for a summer series on Caterpickles, on the condition that I tell you a little bit about the original work in the post.

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The Eight-Year-Old makes plans

A sample of the tile in question. "Painted" indeed. When she says stuff like that, I think The Eight-Year-Old has a future in marketing. (Photo: Shala Howell)

A sample of the tile in question. “Painted” indeed. When she says stuff like that, I think The Eight-Year-Old has a future in marketing. (Photo: Shala Howell)

At some point in the next couple of years, we plan to renovate our 1920s-era master bathroom. The Eight-Year-Old, naturally is full of ideas.

The Eight-Year-Old, surveying the bathroom in question: “Can we keep this tile in here?”

Mommyo, carefully: “I don’t know, sweetie. We aren’t going to change anything in the bathroom for a while, though.”

The Eight-Year-Old: “Good. I don’t mind that the tile’s cracked and looks like it was painted a different color in spots. I just like that it’s old. I think I could enter this apartment in Antiques Roadshow, once we clear out all this new stuff.”

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What’s The Eight-Year-Old reading this week?

June19Montage
Our mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Eight-Year-Old’s desk. This week, we meet the not-so-newly discovered Hellboy dinosaur and mourn the loss of the world’s oldest living cat.  

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Wordless Wednesday: Summer at Caterpickles

(Photo: Mommyo)

(Photo: Mommyo)

This looks to be the major accomplishment of our week. Ah, summer.

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“Do centipedes really have 100 legs?”

Ah, summertime in Chicago. After six relatively bug-free months, all the little critters have come out to play and provoke questions in The Eight-Year-Old’s wonderfully elastic great brain.

Centipede via the Orkin website

Centipede via the Orkin website

Questions like: “Do centipedes really have 100 legs?”

Although the word “centipede” does mean “100-footed,” my go-to consultant on all invasive bug species, the Orkin Man assures me that most centipedes do not in fact have 100 legs.

Some of them have 354 (the Geophilomorphs).

To which I say, verily and forsooth, ick.

Don’t despair, the Orkin Man tells me. There are plenty of centipedes, like the American house centipede that only have 30 legs. (Like that makes anything better.)

In general, centipedes have one pair of legs for every body segment. A full-grown American house centipede, for example, has fifteen body segments, which is why they only have 15 pairs of legs. Sadly for me, those legs are long, multi-articulate (jointed), and hairy.

To make matters even worse, the legs on the body segment behind the centipede’s head aren’t really legs. They’ve evolved into venomous fangs which the centipede uses to hunt prey. Although centipedes mostly use the fangs to paralyze soft-bodied insects, spiders, worms, and other centipedes, they have been known to bite humans when handled. Centipede bites are extremely painful, and can cause numbness, discoloration, and inflammation.

Which is why it is a totally rational reaction to scream in terror and flee at least three rooms over at the sight of one. (So there, Daddyo.)

Well, that’s all I can take of that.

If you want to know more, find it out yourself.

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What’s The Eight-Year-Old reading this week?

Harry Potter Montage
Our mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Eight-Year-Old’s desk. This week, The Eight-Year-Old discovers Harry Potter and Mommyo’s laissez faire attitude towards books is sorely tested. 

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Posted in Reading, Reviews: Books, What the 8YO is reading | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Wordless Wednesday: Peony

(Photo: Shala Howell)

(Photo: Shala Howell)

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Posted in Nature, Out and About, Wordless Wednesday | Tagged , | 1 Comment