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


Centipede (Stone 5) Lithobius spp.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Myriapoda
Class: Chilopoda
Order: Lithobiomorpha
Family: Lithobiidae
Subfamily: Lithobiinae
Genus: Lithobius
Common name: Stone centipedes.

Most Lithobius species are typical representatives of the family Lithobiidae. They are about 0.4 cm to over 3 cm long and and are brownish in colour. The adult's body has 18 segments, and 15 pairs of legs.
Most possess ocelli, either one or a group of several, although there are some blind species. Ocelli are simple photo-receptors (light detecting organs). They consist of a single lens and several sensory cells. Unlike compound eyes, ocelli do not form a complex image of the environment but are used to detect movement. 
The most familiar active brown or reddish centipedes common around human habitations in New Zealand are Lithobiomorpha.
Lithobius centipedes after moulting and hardening, become a reddish-purple colour. Some individuals become a violet colour. Like other centipedes, they are more active at night. They feed on insects and other small invertebrates. The eggs are deposited in soil. The life-span can be over 3 years