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NC State Researcher Says You Have More Than 500 Secret Roommates

The house centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata .
Bruce Marlin
The house centipede Scutigera coleoptrata has rigid sclerites on each body segment.

Researchers are looking into how many arthropods may be living in US homes.  Arthropods include insects, spiders and centipedes.  Initial findings were based on searches of 50 free-standing houses in Raleigh.

Entomologist Matt Bertone worked on the study.  He says they found more than 500 different kinds of arthropods living in the homes.

Dance fly of the species Empis livida
Credit André Karwath / Wikipedia
Dance fly of the species Empis livida

"A lot of these things were accidental visitors that wandered into homes and died.  But we did find a good thriving community of arthropods that were living in homes, dwell in homes and reproduce there."

Bertone says the houses and apartments varied in age, size and location.  He adds that cobweb spiders and carpet beetles were found in all the homes.

"I was surprised to find that several homes had spitting spiders in them and these do exist and dwell in homes and they're just one of my favorite groups of arthropods because a spider that spits is pretty interesting."

He says his colleagues are investigating other locations.

"They've already sampled in San Francisco and Peru and Sweden, they're going to try and go to a few different continents and sample some homes in these places to see if there's any similarities or differences."


Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.
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