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Soil Centipede (Strigamia bidens)

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

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

Updated: 04/18/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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. ©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Chilopoda
      Order: Geophilomorpha
        Family: Geophilidae
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          Genus: Strigamia
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            Species: bidens
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Strigamia bidens
Category: Centipede
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 195mm (0.19" to 7.67")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red
Descriptors: long; bend; flexible; armor; plates; legs; fast; bright; under stones

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 5mm (0.2in) and 195mm (7.7in)
Lo: 5mm
Md: 100mm
Hi: 195mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Soil Centipede may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Soil Centipede. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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