T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Centipedes (Stone 1) Lithobius spp

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Myriapoda
Class: Chilopoda
Orders: Lithobiomorpha
Family: Lithobiidae
Species: Lithobius
Common names: Stone Centipedes

This is a “stone centipede”, order Lithobiomorpha, so called because that’s what they live under. They run like water, flowing around obstacles and into holes in a way that’s very much like the way a stream of water flows, and are kind of hard to catch. On top of the speed, they are slippery, and their dozens of legs are very good at forcing them through crevices, or out from between your fingers. Even their antennae have a disturbingly fluid nature, flowing over surfaces and contorting in a way that is more like what you would expect from tentacles than from antennae.

Centipedes are active predators, running down slower insects with their many long legs and sucking them dry using their fangs. Like spiders, the fangs are enhanced with venom. Stone centipedes are pretty aggressive predators, preying on the other things that live under rocks like woodlice, worms, springtails and grubs.