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Scolopendra viridis

Scolopendra viridis
St. Lucie County, Florida, USA
May 13, 2006

Scolopendra viridis
While it is often difficult to distinguish Scolopendra viridis Say, 1821 from Hemiscolopendra marginata (Say, 1821), the color pattern indicates that this is S. viridis. It ranges from southeastern North Carolina to southern peninsular Florida, and spreads westward through the Gulf Coastal states to Utah & Arizona; southward, S. viridis occurs all the way to Panama.

One way to distinguish S.v. from H.m. is by their habits. In the east, both occur primarily under bark of decaying pine logs & stumps, but S.v. is lightning fast and flies out of view the moment it's uncovered (need to have forceps ready for grabbing before you peel the bark). H.m., however, is a sluggish species and will either sit still in one place afer uncovered (while you reach for forceps to grab it) or move away comparatively slowly, giving you ample time to get forceps and grab it.

Scolopendra or Hemi-?
Hey Jeff - The Guide has a separate page with the same common name, Florida Blue, but a different scientific name, Hemiscolopendra marginata. So did you ID this bug as S. viridis, or could it be the other Florida Blue?

Joshua S. Rose, Ph.D.
World Birding Center
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park
956-584-9156 x 236

for pointing that out.
There are records of two species from my area: S. viridis and H. punctiventris. The prominent, procurved suture on the first tergite matches the former. (Full Size image for detail)
The problem may be with invalid names (H. or S. viridis - are they synonyms or two different species?); my reference is from 1987. Any ideas?

Rowland Shelley at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, a centipede researcher, lists on the NCMNS website that H. punctiventris is a junior synonym of H. marginata. S. viridis is listed separately, still a full species and separate genus.

Scolopendromorpha of the USA

So you do have two different species in your area, both featured on the Guide; it sounds like you have sufficiently ID'd yours as the Scolopendra rather than the Hemi.

Now, somebody needs to come up with a different common name for one of these two. Which one was named "Florida Blue" first? :--P

for the update, Josh.

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