Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Geophilomorpha - Geophilus

Geophilomorpha - Geophilus
Champaign County, Illinois, USA
March 31, 2014
Size: 60-70 mm
Highly sclerotized compared to others, with about 62 pairs of legs (somehow I got 65 the last few times I counted)

Sixty-Three Pairs
Final Leg Count = 63 pairs (including terminal pair). I'm not sure why this should have been so hard.

Moved from Geophilus oweni.

Moved from Centipedes.

Geophilus oweni
One of only two eastern centipedes with 65+ pairs of legs -- the other is Strigamia bidens, which is fire-truck red.

including front legs
The 65 number includes the enlarged front legs.

In that case a microscopic ex
In that case a microscopic examination of the specimen is needed to determine species, but the genus is still Geophilus. I still think this looks like oweni but it could also be G. cayugae.

The enlarged front pair don't
The enlarged front pair don't count? The underside, especially of the head, would be helpful?

When counting the number of p
When counting the number of pairs of legs, omit the fangs, even though they are in fact highly modified legs. That said, 64 can't be the correct number because they always have an odd number of pairs of legs. So 65 is probably correct, in which case this is almost certainly G. oweni.

The underside of the head is important in differentiating G. flavus from the others in the genus, but with this specimen what is needed is a lateral view of the last pair of legs. If the base of the leg has pores on the side, it is G. oweni and if not it is G. cayugae. Unfortunately you would need a dead specimen to look at under a microscope in this case. Although it is possible for G. cayugae to have a leg count in the low 60s, none of the ones I have that many. So you can be almost sure this is G. oweni. G. cayugae is also only known from a few states in the east, and doesn't appear to be found in the midwest, although this is less compelling as centipede ranges are in dire need of revision.

If you're interested, I'd like to e-mail you a key to the eastern centipedes. It has a key to the Geophilus as well as some helpful drawings.