Pauropods of Britain and Ireland

Pauropodidae ~ Photo: Stewart Bevan

Pauropods are tiny myriapods, up to 1.5 mm long, with 9-11 leg bearing segments in the adult. The body shape is variable but in all but one of the British species they are elongate, whitish animals (Pauropodidae, top image, e.g. Pauropus huxleyi). The exception is the rather stout Trachypauropus britannicus (Eurypauropodidae, bottom image).  They are widely distributed in leaf litter and soil and can sometimes be found under stones. All share the characteristic feature of their biramous antennae.

Occurrence in most environments is very patchy but there is a report of up to 250 per square metre in oak & pine stands in eastern North America. They are, however, rarely seen by most workers. According to Ulf Scheller, the best way to spot them on the underside of a stone is to blow gently over the surface. “They can be recognised immediately by the way they run. Although superficially like slow moving collembolans, pauropods run rapidly forwards, they stop they run backwards or twist their bodies in many directions.”

A widespread species that is relatively easy to identify is Allopauropus (Decapauropus) gracilis


Barber, A.D., Blower, J.G., Scheller, U. (1992). Pauropoda, the smallest Myriapods. Bulletin of the British Myriapod Group 8: 13-24. 

Oliver, P.G. & Amsden, A.F. (1982). The Pauropoda. Nature in Wales (NS) 1: 33-38.

Scheller,U. (1990). A list of the British Pauropoda with a description of a new species of Eurypauropodidae (Myriapoda). Journal of Natural  History 24: 1179-1195.


 Trachypauropus britannicus Photo: Stewart Bevan

Systematic Checklist 

Based on Scheller (1990). Nomeclature updated to follow MilliBase (2017) ~



             Family Pauropodidae

                    Allopauropus brevisetus Silvestri, 1902

                    Allopauropus danicus (Hansen, 1902)

                    Allopauropus broelemanni Remy, 1935

                    Decapauropus cuenoti Remy, 1931  [syn. Allopauropus cuenoti (Remy, 1931)]

                    Allopauropus distinctus Bagnall, 1936

                    Allopauropus gracilis (Hansen, 1902) [syn. Decapauropus gracilis (Hansen, 1902)]

                    Allopauropus helveticus (Hansen, 1902) [syn. Decapauropus helveticus (Hansen, 1902)]

                    Allopauropus milloti Remy, 1945 [syn. Decapauropus milloti (Remy, 1945)]

                    Allopauropus millotianus Leclerc, 1953

                    Allopauropus multiplex Remy, 1936

                    Allopauropus productus Silvestri, 1902

                    Decapauropus remyi (Bagnall, 1935) [syn. Allopauropus remyi (Bagnall, 1935)]

                    Decapauropus thalassophilus (Remy, 1935) [syn. Allopauropus thalassophilus Remy, 1935]

                    Allopauropus vulgaris (Hansen, 1902) [syn. Decapauropus vulgaris (Hansen, 1901)]

                    Pauropus furcifer Silvestri, 1902

                    Pauropus huxleyi Lubbock, 1867

                    Pauropus lanceolatus Remy, 1956

                    Stylopauropus brito Remy, 1949

                    Stylopauropus pedunculatus (Lubbock, 1867)

                    Stylopauropus pubescens (Hansen, 1902)

                    Scleropauropus lyrifer Remy, 1936

                    Polypauropus duboscqi Remy, 1932

             Family Eurypauropodidae

                    Trachypauropus britannicus Scheller, 1990