Lithobius obscurus Click to enlarge image
Purple Stone Centipede, Lithobius obscurus Image: Andrew Donnelly
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    obscurus
    Genus
    Lithobius
    Family
    Lithobiidae
    Order
    Lithobiomorpha
    Subclass
    Pleurostigmophora
    Class
    Chilopoda
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    1.5-2.0 cm

Introduction

The Purple Stone Centipede was first described as a new species from Sydney and named Lithobius sydneyensis. However, later discoveries of the same species in cities including Auckland, Cape Town and Montevideo led to the realisation that this is not an Australian native species and was probably spread via cargo. It is native to countries of the western Mediterranean and was introduced to Sydney before 1900.

Identification

A related native species is Australobius scabrior, which ranges from Cape York (and possibly southern New Guinea) to Sydney, and is found in sclerophyll forest and rainforest. The way to distinguish the two species is by counting the antennal segments. Australobius scabrior has 20, while the Purple Stone Centipede has 26-28.

Habitat

The Purple Stone Centipede lives in urban areas, disturbed bushland and gardens.

Distribution

The Purple Stone Centipede is found in ports around the world.