Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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Class Symphyla - Symphylans

Centipede nymph ? Garden Centipede? Tiny Centipede Symphylan Symphylan Symphyla Oregon Symphyla Oregon Symphyla?
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Myriapoda (Myriapods)
Class Symphyla (Symphylans)
Other Common Names
Dwarf Millipedes, Garden Centipedes, Garden Symphylans, Glasshouse Symphylans, Symphylids/Symphilids
Explanation of Names
Symphyla Ryder 1880
Symphyla refers to both an order (Ryder 1880) and class (elevated by R. I. Pocock in 1893). From the Greek roots sym("together") and phyla ("tribe"), in reference to Ryder's view the group united traits of myriapods and insects.(1)
2 families worldwide, both represented in North America.
Approx. 7 genera and 30 species in our area.
1-8 mm long
White, slender, prominent antennae with many segments; numerous legs (12 pair in mature adults). Well developed head. Newly hatched nymphs have only six pairs, but the total number of legs grows with each molt.
Two families worldwide, both in occur in our area. Scutigerellidae can be distinguished by relatively large dorsal tergites (aka scuta) with posterior margins rounded or gently lobed, and relatively larger body length (usually > 4 mm) while the tergites of Scolopendrellidae are reduced in size or sharply pointed posteriorly, and individuals are usually < 4mm.(1)
All continents except Antarctica
Soil, especially the upper 12-15 cm
All stages can be found throughout the year, but most eggs and early nymphs are found in the spring and fall.
Mainly roots or fungi; many are probably omnivorous
Life Cycle
One to two generations per year
May cause damage to plants, especially in greenhouses
Print References
(1):Ch. 28, Symphyla (pp. 891-910)
Internet References
Fact sheet (Berry 1998)
Works Cited
1.Soil Biology Guide
Daniel Dindal, ed. 1990. Wiley-Interscience.
2.Borror and DeLong's Introduction to the Study of Insects
Norman F. Johnson, Charles A. Triplehorn. 2004. Brooks Cole.