Giant bird-eating centipedes exist – and they’re surprisingly important for Australia’s ecosystem

Giant bird-eating centipedes exist – and they’re surprisingly important for Australia’s ecosystem

Phillip Island centipedes devour up to 3,700 black-winged petrel chicks each year, trapping nutrients brought from the ocean by the seabirds and distributing them around the island

Giant bird-eating centipedes may sound like something out of a science-fiction film – but they’re not. On tiny Phillip Island, part of the South Pacific’s Norfolk Island group, the Phillip Island centipede (Cormocephalus coynei) population can kill and eat up to 3,700 seabird chicks each year.

And this is entirely natural. This unique creature endemic to Phillip Island has a diet consisting of an unusually large proportion of vertebrate animals, including seabird chicks.

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