Centipedes are common in wet forest and woodland, but many species inhabit dry forest, and some live in grassland or deserts. Some Geophilomorpha hunt in seaweed clusters in the littoral zone. Other species show a preference for caves; a few are confined to caves. Centipedes tolerate an elevational range from sea level to high mountain peaks, even for a single species.

Some species have quite specific microhabitats (such as rotting logs), but most thrive in a range of microhabitats, e.g., logs, bark, litter, or under stones.

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