information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A coastal centipede (Strigamia maritima)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.
Only coastal and marine records shown



Strigamia maritima is a centipede, its worm-like body is divided into a head and a trunk. The trunk is subdivided into segments, all but two of which have a pair of walking legs. Segment number may vary between Strigamia maritima individuals. The first pair of modified legs are poison claws on the head. The last pair are strong and brightly coloured and used in display. It has two pairs of antennae coming off the head region.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded off the south-west coasts of England and the west coasts of Scotland. Possibly under recorded.

Global distribution



Strigamia maritima is a littoral and supralittoral species found in a variety of coastal habitats.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Up to 15 cm in length.
  • Segmented worm-like body with one pair of legs per segment.
  • Fourteen segments in the antennae.
  • A spiracle is present on every segment except the first and last.
  • Pores over ventral surface of the the first segment of each leg.

Additional information

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Listed by

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Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Cheng, L. (ed.), 1976. Marine insects. Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company.

  2. Eason, E.H., 1964. Centipedes of the British Isles. Frederick Warne, Oxford.

  3. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  4. Lewis, J.G.E. 1981. The Biology of Centipedes. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

  5. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017

  6. OBIS,  2018. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2018-09-19


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Strigamia maritima A coastal centipede. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 19-09-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 22/05/2008