Centipede species: Scutigera and Craterostigmus 

Move mouse cursor over map icons to see maps — no need to click!

Scutigera coleoptrata Linnaeus, 1758

Scutigera coleoptrata

Colour image courtesy Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska - Lincoln (USA).

The Australian mainland States have native 'bush' scutigeromorphs ('Johnny Hairylegs'), but the only scutigeromorph in Tasmania is this fast-running introduced one ('House Centipede'). It has so far only been found in buildings in Hobart and Launceston. Adult body length is 20-25 mm. Many specimens are light brown with three blue longitudinal bands on the tergites. The antennae, leg spines and tarsi are sometimes orange. S. coleoptrata is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean area and is now nearly cosmopolitan. It is easily kept in captivity and makes an interesting pet. There is a charming song about this species on YouTube!

Lewis (1981) and references given there, Mesibov (1986). For beautiful close-up images of this species, search the website of Flickr's Myriapoda group. 

Tasmania mapScutigera coleoptrata

Craterostigmus tasmanianus Pocock, 1902

Craterostigmus tasmanianus

Craterostigmus tasmanianus is typically greenish-brown with a red-brown head. Adults are generally ca 50 mm long, but larger specimens are in Tasmanian collections. Females spend the warmer half of the year deep within moist rotting logs, brooding their eggs and later the hatchlings, which at first have only 12 pairs of legs. In captivity, C. tasmanianus captures and eats flies, crickets and woodlice (slaters).

Although it is a Tasmanian endemic, C. tasmanianus occurs very widely in the State and on offshore islands (see map). It ranges from sea level to at least 1300 m. In the drier parts of Tasmania it is restricted to permanently moist sites, such as creekline forest and scrub. Elsewhere C. tasmanianus is found in wet forest, woodland and scrub. It does not seem to live in moorland, grassland or heath at lower elevations. It can be very abundant in Nothofagus forest on basalt in the Northwest, and in high-country Eucalyptus pauciflora woodland, e.g. near Penstock Lagoon. C. tasmanianus was first collected on Mt Rumney (near Hobart) in the early 1890s, but has not been collected there again. A closely similar species, C. crabilli, occurs in New Zealand.

Bastianello and Minelli (2001), Bonato et al. (2010), Borucki (1996), Borucki and Rosenberg (1997), Carcupino et al. (1996), Colgan et al. (1998), Dohle (1990), Eberhard et al. (1991), Edgecombe (2001a, 2004c, 2006, 2007), Edgecombe and Giribet (2003b, 2007, 2008), Edgecombe et al. (1999), Ernst and Rosenberg (2003), Ernst et al. (2002, 2006), Giribet et al. (1999), Hilken (1997, 1998), Lewis (1981), Mallatt and Giribet (2006), Manton (1965), Mesibov (1986, 1995b), Müller and Meyer-Rochow (2006), Murienne et al. (2010), Pocock (1902), Prunescu (1965), Prunescu and Prunescu (2006), Prunescu et al. (1996), Regier and Shultz (2001), Regier et al. (2005, 2010), Rosenberg et al. (2006), Wirkner and Pass (2002)

Tasmania mapCraterostigmus tasmanianus