Stigmatogaster subterraneus (Shaw, 1794)

Common name

Western Yellow Centipede


Haplophilus subterraneus (Shaw, 1794)


GB IUCN status: Least Concern

ID Difficulty


Stigmatogaster (formerly known as Haplophilus) are large (reaching 70 mm, or more, in length) yellowish-brown centipedes, recognised by the combination of a very large number of leg pairs and numerous coxal pores that are easily visible over the ventral and dorsal surfaces of the coxae of the last legs. 

Stigmatogaster subterraneus has between 77 and 83 leg pairs, while the south-western Stigmatogaster souletinus has at least 93 leg pairs. Only the uncommon Stenotaenia linearis, which is of similar appearance and has up to  81 leg pairs, approaches this number. In addition Henia vesuviana and Geophilus electricus can have more than 70 leg pairs.

More information to allow accurate identification is given in the published identification keys (Barber, 2008 & 2009).

Nicola Garnham
J.P. Richards
Andy Keay
Steve Gregory
Steve Gregory
Mark Robinson
Keith Lugg
Stewart Bevan
Nicola Garnham


Although found commonly throughout much of Britain and Ireland, Stigmatogaster subterraneus is most abundant in the south and the west of both countries. 


It inhabits a wide variety of habitats including woodland, coastal sites and urban sites. Further north and east it becomes increasingly associated with synathropic 'urban' sites, such as gardens and churchyards. Specimens can be found under stones and deadwood and among soil and leaf-litter. 

This account is based on that in the 'Centipede Atlas' (Barber, 2022).


Barber, A.D. (2022) Atlas of the centipedes of Britain and Ireland. Telford, FSC Publications

BRC code