As they can be found in greenhouses, symphylans are sometimes known as ‘glasshouse symphylans’ or ‘garden centipedes’. There are approximately 200 described species.

Symphylans are small arthropods resembling centipedes. They are:

  • small (measuring from 2 to 10mm)
  • blind
  • soft-bodied
  • translucent

Their unpigmented bodies have between 15 to 24 segments. Adult symphylans have 12 pairs of legs, but they start life with only 6 pairs and add on a pair at each moult.

They are primarily detritivores and herbivores, feeding on plant matter. 

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