THE CENTIPEDE, SCUTIGERA COLEOPTRATA A NEW RECORD FOR SUFFOLK
A . BEAUMONT AND S. W E N T
Centipedes are not the most recorded fauna of Suffolk. Most are brown, fast moving and seek out d a m p , dark areas. Their identification is not as simple as for some other arthropods. On 19th April, 1988, in a bath in north Lowestoft (Grid Ref. TM545955) Mr R o n Aggio was taken aback to find a 2.5 cm centipede. H e took it to one of us, S . W . , who had not seen such a species before, and believed it to be Scutigera coleoptrata (Linn.) from the picture in Chinery (1986). It was brought to A . B . , and together we agreed that it was similar to Chinery's illustration, although the brown lateral lines were wider. H o w e v e r , f r o m the more specialised E a s t o n (1964) we were able to confirm the identification as S. coleoptrata. S. coleoptrata is the most colourful of our 40 or so British species of centipede. Running along its dorsal side are three darker bands on its faun-coloured body. Its fifteen pairs of legs are long and not of equal length, lengthening along the body. T h e hind legs are each about 3 cm long, with brownish bands near the leg joints, which are also present on the 13th and 14th pairs. T h e creature can move remarkably quickly, as we can confirm when it escaped during a photographic session. At rest it has its body in contact with the ground with its legs arched over the sides and back. T h e long hind legs bent at the femur/tibia joint are 1 cm in the air. S. coleoptrata is probably a native of the Mediterranean region, and extends into E u r o p e and Asia where it can become a domestic inhabitant. Mourier et al. (1977) describe it as the 'House Centipede'. Easton (1964) gives its distribution as the Channel Isles, and it has been recorded f r o m buildings in A b e r d e e n , Edinburgh and Colchester. It could have come to Suffolk f r o m the Channel Isles on Kiwi fruit, on which it would be cryptically coloured.
References Chinery, M. (1986). Collins guide to the insects of Britain and Europe. E a s t o n , E. H . (1964). Centipedes of the British Isles. F. W a r n e & Co. Mourier, H . & Winding, O . (1977). Collins guide to wildlife in the house and home. Dr Alan B e a u m o n t , 52 Squires Walk, Lowestoft, N R 3 2 4 L A .
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Stuart W e n t , 39 Wingfield Street, Bungay.