Lithobius forficatus

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Lithobius forficatus
Lithobius forficatus.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Myriapoda
Class: Chilopoda
Order: Lithobiomorpha
Family: Lithobiidae
Genus: Lithobius
Species: L. forficatus
Binomial name
Lithobius forficatus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Lithobius forficatus, most commonly known as the brown centipede or stone centipede, is a common European centipede of the family Lithobiidae, although its distribution is not exclusive to Europe. It is between 18 and 30 mm long and up to 4 mm broad and is a chestnut brown color.

Underside with the powerful and venomous front legs

It is similar to a variety of other European lithobiid centipedes, particularly the striped centipede, Lithobius variegatus, but L. forficatus does not have stripes on its legs. Like most lithobiids, it is found in the upper layers of soil, particularly under rocks and rotting logs. This species can be fairly easily identified by its reaction to being revealed, which is to run extremely quickly for cover. This is different from many of the other species of large lithobiid, which tend to be less extreme in their evasion behavior.


Lithobiids leave the egg with seven pairs of legs, and each time they molt, they develop additional body segments with a new pair of legs on each.[1]

Lithobius forficatus may live for as long as five to six years.[2]


  1. ^ Smithsonian: Animal The Definitive Visual Guide. New York, NY: DK Publishing. 2011. p. 578. ISBN 9780756686772. 
  2. ^ Lewis, J. G. E. (2006). The Biology of Centipedes. Cambridge University Press. p. 328. ISBN 9780521034111. Retrieved 2016-12-24. 

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