Sunday, 21 April 2013

Brown centipede

This is a common centipede in my garden, often found when moving pots or under stones. It is Lithobius forficatus, and can be identified by its 15 pairs of legs and fast escape behaviour. There are no less than 17 sp UK species in the genus. L. forficatus, can be recognised by the projections on tergites 9, 11 and 13, its size (less than 30 mm, this one was about 19 mm) and the number of segments in their antennae (35-42, this one 37). I held this one in a plastic bug pot while keying it out. Lots of photos, in particular at the angle above, allowed to see the projections in the tergites (the plates on the back) clearly from the side. It had another short photographic session in the white bowl. White it didn't settle at all, as centipedes try and get under cover as soon as possible, good light conditions and a flash allowed me to take some sharp photos before returning it to its home.

3 comments:

Dan said...

My first ever museum job was a summer placement at the Oxford Museum of Natural History. E. H. Eason, author of 'Centipedes of the British Isles' had recently died, and I spent my time sorting though the contents of his garage, which had been gifted to the museum. I learned lots about Britain's centipede fauna during that time, but have forgotten most of it. Thanks for this post - it takes me back...

Africa Gómez said...

Thank you for your lovely comment Dan, I am glad the post brought back good memories.

William said...
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