CENTIPEDE, called in the Bible marbeh raglayim ("many-footed"). It is included among the "swarming things," which it is forbidden to eat (Lev. 11:42). According to Targum Pseudo-Jonathan and rabbinic tradition, the reference is to the nadal (centipedes; Sifra 10:10). Several species of centipede are found in Israel, the most common being the species Scolopendra cingulata, which has 42 legs and 22 segments, is up to 8 in. (about 20 cm.) long, and feeds on insects and earthworms. The name marbeh raglayim may also refer to the class Diplopoda (millipedes) which has two pairs of legs to each of its segments and lives on decayed organic matter. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 134; J. Margolin, Zo'ologyah, 1 (1961), 136–40; Lewysohn, Zool, 322ff. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 249. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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