Animal Species:Earth Centipede

This and other earth centipedes belong to the group Geophilomorpha, which means 'earth-loving'.

Earth Centipede Specimen

Andrew Donnelly © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Earth Centipede

Identification

There are several species of earth centipedes commonly found in Sydney and their short legs and rectangular-shaped head allow them to move easily through soil and leaf litter. Geophilomorphs can be distinguished from other centipedes by their long and slender body with anywhere between 27 and 191 pairs of legs. All earth centipedes are blind and have specially adapted comb-like mouthparts for sweeping and rasping liquefied prey that they catch in the soil.

Size range

3.5 cm

Distribution

Earth centipedes are found in Tasmania, southern mainland Australia and New Zealand.

Habitat

Earth centipedes live in urban areas, forests and woodlands.

Life cycle

Female earth centipedes lay their eggs in leaf litter or soil. They don't feed while brooding and roll their body protectively around their egg cluster. The young hatch with the full number of adult legs and, after moulting twice, leave the brood or risk being eaten by the mother.

Classification

Species:
antipodus
Genus:
Zelanion
Family:
Chilenophilidae
Order:
Geophilomorpha
Subclass:
Pleurostigmophora
Class:
Chilopoda
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags centipedes, myriapods, invertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney,