Scutigerella immaculata

Garden symphylans live in leaf litter and rich soil. They are also found in agricultural fields and greenhouses. (Illustration by Emily Damstra. Reproduced by permission.)

Physical characteristics: This species measures 0.19 to 0.31 inches (5 to 8 millimeters) in length. Their bodies are whitish or light brownish. They are impossible to identify without examination through a microscope.

Geographic range: The true range of this species is unknown because it is often confused with other closely related species.

Habitat: This species lives in leaf litter and rich soil. It is also found in agricultural fields and greenhouses.

Diet: The garden symphylan eats vegetable material, especially small roots and rootlike parts of funguses.

Behavior and reproduction: The adults are especially quick when threatened.

Males leave sperm packets on the ground for females to pick up. Eggs are laid in masses, each mass containing up to twenty-five eggs. The larvae (LAR-vee), or young, hatch with six or seven pairs of legs and add a new pair of legs with each molt.

Garden symphylans and people: This species is sometimes a serious pest in fields, gardens, and greenhouses and hothouses.

Conservation status: Garden symphylans are not considered endangered or threatened. ■


Edwards, C. A. Symphyla: In Soil Biology Guide, edited by Daniel L. Dindal. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1990.

Eisenbeis, G., and W. Wichard, Atlas on the Biology of Soil Arthropods. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag, 1987.


Scheller, U. "Symphyla from the United States and Mexico." Texas Memorial Museum, Speleological Monographs 1 (1986): 87-125.

Web sites:

"Symphyla." Tree of Life Web Project. Symphyla&contgroup=Arthropoda (accessed on November 3, 2004).

Tasmanian Symphyla. tassymph/symintro.html (accessed on November 3, 2004).


Class: Myriapoda Subclass: Pauropoda Number of families: 5 families

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