Symphylan Checklist

Symphyla of Britain and Ireland

Somewhat resembling miniature whitish centipedes, symphylans are typically up to about 8 mm long and can often be seen running rapidly over the soil surface when stones are turned over. They occur in all sorts of soils and can be present in large numbers (up to 80 million per acre in one estimate). They can sometimes become a serious greenhouse or outdoor pest attacking the roots of young plants.

Antennae are prominent, with 5-60 segments and very flexible; eyes are absent. There are 12 leg pairs but the first pair is often much reduced and not visible. The rear end bears a pair of prominent conical cerci with setae.


Edwards, C.A. (1959). A revision of the British Symphyla. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 132: 403-439.

Hopkin, S.P. & Roberts, A.W. (1988). Symphyla – the least studied of the most interesting soil animals. Bulletin of the British Myriapod Group 5: 28-34.


Check list after Edwards (1959) & Hopkin & Roberts (1988)



                   Family Scutigerellidae

                    Scutigerella linsleyi Michelbacher, 1942 - common

                    Scutigerella palmonii Michelbacher, 1942 - common

                    Scutigerella immaculata (Newport, 1845) - common

                    Scutigerella lineatus Edwards, 1959 - rare

                    Scutigerella causeyae Michelbacher, 1942 - common

                    Hanseniella unguiculata (Hansen, 1903) - inside hothouses

                    Hanseniella calderia  (Hansen, 1903) - inside hothouses

                    Neoscutigerella hanseni (Bagnall, 1913) - rare

                    Family Scolopendrellidae

                    Symphyllelopsis subnuda (Hansen, 1903) - quite common

                    Symphyllelopsis arvenorum (Ribaut, 1931) - quite common

                    Scolopendrella notacantha (Gervais, 1844) - rare

                    Symphylella isabellae (Grassi, 1886) - common

                    Symphylella hintoni Edwards, 1959 - common

                    Symphylella vulgaris (Hansen, 1903) - common

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