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Soil Centipede (Strigamia bidens)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Soil Centipede.

 Updated: 3/11/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Rarely seen unless its stone or leaf litter roof is lifted, the harmless Soil Centipede hides and thrives in dark places.



Soil Centipedes look creepy, but they play an important role in an underground ecosystem, and happily for all, they are content to remain outside. Long, flexible bodies are capable of bending and curling. Movement is somewhat like another underground dweller, the earthworm; both stretch and retract when moving. A low profile allows them to slip into narrow spaces that do not even seem to exist, like between a stone and earth. Often hidden during the day and night, their presence is most often revealed when overhead shelter is moved. Sudden exposure sends them moving, not really running, toward cover. They tunnel through soil, aerating it, and thereby improving its quality, making it easier for plants to grow.

Soil Centipedes like this species are red. The legs are finer and less robust than other types of centipedes like Scolopendrid centipedes, and are much shorter than House centipedes. They live on a diet of worms and underground insect larvae. Females guard and clean their eggs, keeping fungi from overcoming them. Offspring hatch with all their legs intact; they do not add more as they mature.
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Chilopoda
      Order: Geophilomorpha
        Family: Geophilidae
          Genus: Strigamia
            Species: bidens
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Strigamia bidens
Category: Centipede
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 195mm (0.20in to 7.61in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red
Descriptors: long; bend; flexible; armor; plates; legs; fast; bright; under stones
Territorial Map
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.