Local spider expert Edward Milner writes:
When I’m carrying out my regular surveys for spiders and beetles in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, my pitfall traps sometimes catch centipedes. When they do, I send these to Tony Barber, one of the very few British centipede experts, for identification.
This year, we have added three new species to the Cemetery Park centipede list: Geophilus flavus, Geophilus electricus and Haplophilus subterraneus. Because so few people study centipedes, individual species don’t have English names.
Geophilus flavus (see header photo) is a large (to 45 mm), bright yellow centipede with a darker reddish head, with 49 to 57 pairs of legs. It is a very common species across much of Britain and Ireland, found in a wide array of habitats (see distribution map).
Geophilus electricus (left) is a large (to 40 mm or more), yellowish-orange centipede with between 65 and 73 leg pairs (rather more than other similar Geophilus species). It occurs widely across Britain and Ireland (see map), often associated with human activity, such as gardens and churchyards, where it is usually found under stones.
Haplophilus subterraneus (left) is a large, normally yellowish, species reaching 60 mm or more, with a large number of leg pairs (77 to 83). It is found commonly throughout Britain and Ireland, but is most abundant in the south and west (see map).
You can find out lots more about centipedes (as well as millipedes and woodlice) on the British Myriapod and Isopod Group (BMIG)’s website.
Click photos to enlarge