Sunday, May 18, 2008

Unpretty picture: centipede

It's very difficult to get a good close-up shot of a moving centipede. Or at least it is with my camera. Last week, I had to pull thirty or forty flats of Impatiens off of these wooden tables on one of the greenhouses we use for storage in the spring and winter, and a lot of them had small collections of centipedes and pill bugs (a.k.a. "roly-poly," "sow bug") underneath them. The pill bugs don't get especially excited about anything, but the centipedes all skittered off the table as soon as they saw light.

I suppose that's practical for the centipedes, in that they need it to be dark and wet, and if you're a centipede and things suddenly get bright on you, you need to run away to a dark place, but it's kind of counterproductive when people are around, 'cause it makes them seem very very creepy. I feel like I should sit down with the centipedes and try to make them see reason. I could be the guy who brings reconciliation between the centipedes and the humans. ("Maybe you guys could crawl slowly, in a non-threatening way, toward the exits, without, you know, jumping off the table at people. We'd be a lot less likely to want to kill you, then, I think.")

Anyway. So I think I injured this guy in the process of pulling the flat off, because after all his compatriots had left, he continued to skitter, albeit slowly, and in circles. ("Also -- would it just kill you guys to maybe stick around and help one another out, when you're injured? I mean, I'm not saying you have to be like the dolphins or something, but this whole running-away-from-the-injured thing doesn't make you come across as very ethical or caring.") Which is how I was able to get this picture. The framing, with him in the center of the beam of light, was accidental, though it improved the picture tremendously.

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