Lithobius forficatus (Linnaeus,1758)


Lithobius (Lithobius) forficatus (Linnaeus,1758)


GB IUCN status: Least Concern

ID Difficulty


Lithobius is a difficult genus and at least 17 species are known from Britain and Ireland.

Lithobius forficatus is the familiar large brown centipede (to 30 mm) with >4 + >4 forcipular teeth and strong projections on tergites 9, 11 and 13. However, due to the presence of other ‘large brown’ Lithobius that also share these characters, such as L. pilicornis, it is not possible to reliably identify in the field and a voucher specimen should be collected for identification. 

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

J.P. Richards
J.P. Richards
J.P. Richards
R.E. Jones
Keith Lugg
Stewart Bevan
Christian Owen
Christian Owen


Lithobius forficatus is very common throughout much of Britain and Ireland. In south west England it can be locally replaced by L. pilicornis


It is ubiquitous in its habitat preferences, being found almost anywhere, most often under stones and dead wood.  

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

BRC code