Scutigera coleoptrata (Linnaeus, 1758)
GB IUCN status: Not applicable (non-native)
Scutigera coleoptrata is a centipede of highly characteristic appearance, with 15 pairs of greatly elongated legs bearing violet bands, three dark stripes running along the full length of the body and very large compound eyes similar to those seen in insects.
However, a second scutigeromorph Thereuonema tuberculata has been found in Britain. This is of almost identical appearance, but lacks the dark body stripes.
More information to allow accurate identification is given in the published identification keys by Tony Barber (2008 & 2009).
Scutigera coleoptrata has been well established on the Channel Islands since the 19th Century, but historical records for mainland Britain are sparse; inside a paper mill near Aberdeen in 1883, then a wine cellar in Edinburgh in 1907 and a pre-1955 record from Colchester.
However, since the 1990s there have been about thirty records, most made in the last decade and mainly in southern English counties. This seems to be a species on the increase, possibly due to climate change (Gregory, 2023). It has yet to be recorded from Ireland.
It is typically recorded inside buildings, such as factories or homes, but a few English records are from gardens in the summer months. It is able to survive outdoors in synanthropic habitats, such as gardens, on the Channel Islands. In 2023 a rural population was discovered on a vegetated sea-cliff in West Cornwall (BMIG Newsletter 47, 2023, pg 8)
This account is based on the 'Centipede Atlas' (Barber, 2022).