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.
Scientific Name: Strigamia bidens
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 195mm (0.20in to 7.61in)
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