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


Centipede (Soil) Geophilus spp

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:     Arthropoda
Subphylum:        Myriapoda
Class:        Chilopoda
Order:       Geophilomorpha
Family:      Geophilidae
Genus:      Geophilus
Species:     Geophilus spp:
Common name: Soil centipede

Geophilomorph centipedes are a group of terrestrial arthropods and are a major component of soil ecosystems throughout the world. A key to identifing a soil centipede is that they have one pair of legs per body segment.

The Geophilids species comprise one of the most diverse groups within the geophilomorphs order and have extraordinarily specialised traits for living among soil grains. They are slow moving specialised predators and are long, thin and entirely eyeless with very numerous short legs. The body length varies from less than 1 cm to over 25 cm, with 31 to 181 (always odd number) pairs of legs. The species colour ranges from reddish-brown to very pale yellow.

The specimen in the  photo below had a body length of 3cm.