Geophilus carpophagus Leach, 1814


Geophilus carpophagus 'long form' of Eason, 1964
Geophilus carpophagus sensu stricto Leach, 1814


GB IUCN status: Least Concern

ID Difficulty


A large species (to 60 mm), with 51-57 leg pairs, and with the orange/tan body bearing a distinctive purplish marbled pattern giving a greyish appearance in life (also seen in Henia vesuviana, which has more than 63 leg pairs).
G.carpophagus has been frequently confused with G. easoni (which has fewer leg pairs and differs in habitat preferences).  Only recently have the two been considered to be separate species (Arthur et al., 2001) and earlier records need confirmation.
A description with figures, based on UK specimens, is given by Gregory & Barber (2010).
Steve Gregory
R.E. Jones
Andy Keay
Andy Keay
Andy Keay
Keith Lugg
J.P. Richards
J.P. Richards

Distribution and Habitat

This climbing species is most common across south-east England, becoming entirely coastal in the north. It is found under bark on trees, under loose stones on walls, and in crevices on ‘soft’ coastal cliffs. Away from the coast it is usually found in urban or sub-urban sites, such as gardens and churchyards, and occasionally wanders indoors. Some notes on habitat preferences of this species are given in Arthur et al. (2002).



Gregory, S. & Barber, A.D. (2010) Observations of a population, including juveniles, of Geophilus carpophagus Leach, 1815, sensu stricto from Oxfordshire, Bulletin of the British Myriapod & Isopod Group 24: 2-15.

Arthur, W., Foddai, D., Kettle, C., Lewis, J. G. E., Luczynski, M. & Minelli, A. (2001) Analysis of segment number and enzyme variation in a centipede reveals a cryptic species, Geophilus easoni sp. nov., and raises questions about speciation. Biol. J. Linn. Soc.74:489-499.



BRC Code