Centipede images

A slideshow of photographs and histological sections of centipedes.

Henia vesuviana

Henia vesuviana [Geophilomorpha: Dignathodontidae] from Sardinia. This species occurs throughout Europe (including varied sites in southern Britain) and probably also in North Africa. Its defensive behaviour has been studied – glue secreted from glands on each trunk segment immobilises potential predators such as beetles (Hopkin & Anger, 1992).    

© Gonzalo Giribet
Himantarium gabrielis

Himantarium gabrielis [Geophilomorpha: Himantariidae] from Sardinia. This species is geographically widespread in the Mediterranean region, exhibiting considerable variability in trunk segment numbers across its distribution (Simaiakis, 2009: Soil Organisms).

© Gonzalo Giribet
Newportia adisi

Newportia adisi [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopocryptopidae] from Amazonas, Brazil. This image depicts maternal care of the hatchlings. Newportia includes more than 50 nominal species in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Current work with Varpu Vahtera involves phylogeographic studies of some Mesoamerican species.  

© Gonzalo Giribet
Otostigmus scaber

Otostigmus scaber [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Thailand. This species, recognised by the longitudinal keels on its tergites, is distributed throughout East and Southeast Asia. Collections from Thailand are being studied as part of PhD research by Warut Siriwut (Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok) on the Scolopendromorpha of Thailand.

© Warut Siriwut and Chirasak Sutcharit
Scolopendra dehaani

Scolopendra dehaani [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Thailand. With specimens exceeding 22 cm in length, this species is the largest scolopendrid through parts of its geographic range in Asia.  Long regarded as a subspecies of Scolopendra subspinipes, it has recently been elevated to full species status (Kronmüller, 2012: Spixiana). 

© Warut Siriwut and Chirasak Sutcharit
Scolopendra morsitans

Scolopendra morsitans [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Western Australia. This species, originally named by Linnaeus, has an extremely broad distribution in the warm temperate and tropical parts of the world. It is one of the most widely distributed species throughout Australia, especially in arid regions.

© Gonzalo Giribet
Scolopocryptops simojovelensis

Scolopocryptops simojovelensis [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopocryptopidae] from Miocene amber, Chiapas, Mexico. This fossil species was included in a phylogenetic analysis of extant Scolopocryptops based on morphology and sequence data for six genes (Edgecombe et al., 2012: Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society).

Sterropristes metallicus

Sterropristes metallicus [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Thailand. This genus had not been reported between its last published record in the 1930s and its rediscovery in 2011. A recent revision (Muadsub et al., 2012: Zootaxa) recognises three species of Sterropristes, one in Sulawesi, one in peninsular Malaysia, and one on islands in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand.

© Warut Siriwut and Chirasak Sutcharit
Scolopendra cingulata [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Sicily.

Scolopendra cingulata [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Sicily. Molecular variation in scolopendromorph (including populations of this species from different parts of the Mediterranean) is being studied by Varpu Vahtera in the Giribet lab at Harvard.

© G Giribet
Theatops erythrocephalus [Scolopendromorpha: Plutoniumidae] from Portugal

Theatops erythrocephalus [Scolopendromorpha: Plutoniumidae] from Portugal. This genus, which has a disjunct Mediterranean / North American / Chinese distribution, is the closest relative of the Mediterranean Plutonium, the only scolopendromorph with spiracles on all trunk segments.

© G Giribet
Scutigera coleoptrata from Cape Town, South Africa © Jonathan Colville

Scutigera coleoptrata from Cape Town, South Africa. This synanthropic species, native to southern Europe and the Near/Middle East but introduced to Australia, southern Africa, North America, etc., exhibits considerable genetic variation throughout its geographic distribution. Much of the anatomical evidence on which the position of Scutigeromorpha is inferred comes from studies of this species.

© Jonathan Colville
Cryptops punicus [Scolopendromorpha: Cryptopidae] from Sardinia.

Cryptops punicus [Scolopendromorpha: Cryptopidae] from Sardinia. Whether blind scolpendromorphs like Cryptops evolved via a single or multiple events of eye loss is one of the ongoing debates in centipede phylogenetics. Molecular data and foregut anatomy support a single loss of eyes.  

© G Giribet
Eupolybothrus nudicornis [Lithobiomorpha: Lithobiidae] from Sicily

Eupolybothrus nudicornis [Lithobiomorpha: Lithobiidae] from Sicily. DNA barcode data for this species from different parts of its circum-Mediterranean distribution have been collected in collaboration with David Porco.

© G Giribet
Scutigera coleoptrata from Cape Town, South Africa © Jonathan Colville.

Craterostigmus crabilli from New Zealand, the second species to be described in the order Craterostigmomorpha.  More images and information for this species can be found at

Craterostigmus crabilli

© Gonzalo Giribet
Cormocephalus hartmeyeri [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Porongurup National Park

Cormocephalus hartmeyeri [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Porongurup National Park, Western Australia. The mother is shown brooding peripatoid stage hatchlings. Maternal brood care is identified as an evolutionary novelty with a single origin in the Chilopoda.

© Gonzalo Giribet
Epipharynx of Scolopendra cingulata

Epipharynx of Scolopendra cingulata, with SEM details of chemosensory sensilla ("taste buds") from area shown by inset. The detailed structure of the preoral chamber is being surveyed within each of the major centipede groups in collaboration with Markus Koch (University of Bonn). SEMs credit Sue Lindsay (Australian Museum).

© Sue Lindsay
Forcipules of Tidops collaris [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopocryptopidae] from Guyana

Forcipules of Newportia (Tidops) collaris [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopocryptopidae] from Guyana, cleared in Hoyer’s to show the poison calyx, the length of which is variable in Scolopendromorpha.  

© Markus Koch
Hypopharynx of the Geophilus carpophagus [Geophilomorpha: Geophilidae]

Hypopharynx of the Geophilus carpophagus [Geophilomorpha: Geophilidae], a species used in a survey of the mouth region of geophilomorphs with Markus Koch. Photo credit: Markus Koch on the NHM Philips XL30 scanning electron microscope.

© Markus Koch
Scolopendropsis bahiensis

Scolopendropsis bahiensis [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Bahia, Brazil. This species was the first scolopendromorph proposed to have variable numbers of trunk segments (either 21 or 23) in different parts of its geographic range (Schileyko, 2006: Arthropoda Selecta). 

The discovery of 39- and 43-segment polymorphism in a closely-related species from central Brazil, S. duplicata (Chagas-Júnior et al., 2008: Zootaxa), strengthened the case for S. bahiensis exhibiting segmental polymorphism within a single species.  

© Adriano Kury

Rhysida brasiliensis.

Rhysida brasiliensis [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Bahia, Brazil. The status of this genus is very problematic, with species from different geographic regions (e.g., southern Africa versus Australia and New Guinea) being resolved in phylogenetic analyses as more closely related to other genera than they are to each other (Vahtera et al., 2013: Invertebrate Systematics).

 © Adriano Kury

Tidops nisargani

Newportia (Tidops) nisargani [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopocryptopidae: Newportiinae] from Bahia, Brazil. This species was newly described by Amazonas Chagas-Júnior in 2011 (International Journal of Myriapodology). 

Molecular analyses have shown that Tidops, composed of four Neotropical species, is nested within the more widespread and species-rich genus Newportia (Vahtera et al., 2013: Invertebrate Systematics).

© Adriano Kury

Asanada brevicornis

Asanada brevicornis [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Thailand. Although traditionally classified in a tribe (Asanadini) composed of two genera, molecular data provide strong evidence that Asanada is closely related to Scolopendra s.s. and is actually a member of Scolopendrini. This species is geographically widespread in south and southeast Asia, ranging to New Guinea and northern Australia.

© Warut Siriwut and Chirasak Sutcharit

Paralamyctes (Thingathinga) validus from South Island, New Zealand.

Paralamyctes (Thingathinga) validus [Lithobiomorpha: Henicopidae] from South Island, New Zealand. This genus contains 26 species with a Gondwanan distribution, known from eastern Australia, southern India, Madagascar, South Africa, Argentina and Chile (Giribet and Edgecombe, 2006: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society). The subgenus P. (Thingathinga) is restricted to New South Wales (Australia) and New Zealand.  

© Gonzalo Giribet
Anopsobius neozelanicus from New Zealand.

Anopsobius neozelanicus [Lithobiomorpha: Henicopidae] from New Zealand. The Subfamily Anopsobiinae, which includes some of the smallest adult centipedes, is mostly distributed in temperate Gondwana. The genus Anopsobius occurs in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile; it is also found in the Cape region of South Africa but has been suspected to be introduced there (Edgecombe and Giribet, 2004: Invertebrate Systematics).

© Gonzalo Giribet
Edentistoma octosulcatum.

Edentistoma octosulcatum [Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae] from Malaysian Borneo. This species walks anomalously slowly, pushes strongly with the anterior part of its trunk, and coils on its side like a millipede when disturbed. Long classified as a separate tribe (Arrhabdotini), its first molecular data have been published from a specimen collected in Sarawak in 2013 (Vahtera & Edgecombe, 2014: PLoS ONE).

© Varpu Vahtera
Theatops spinicaudus.

Theatops spinicaudus [Scolopendromorpha: Plutoniumidae] from the USA. This species (indeed this specimen) is the source of the first transcriptome for a member of Plutoniumidae (work by Rosa Fernández at Harvard). T. spinicaudus is one of four North American species of Theatops.  

© Gonzalo Giribet