Adrian Goolden's picture

Halophilus subterraneus

Observed: 24th October 2011 By: Adrian Goolden

We have observed a centipede 'haplophilus subterraneus'glowing brightly on the floor in a unlit room before dawn at 6am.
Cannot find any information about this.
Has anyone else observed the same ?


No identification made yet.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


anonymous spotter's picture


It is claimed that about half the major animal groups have at least a few members who produce a glow of some sort.
The chemical sources differ, but in all cases it requires a fair amount of energy, so it is usually under the beast's control.
There are at least two reasons for doing it if you're a centipede. First, to attract a mate in dark habitats. Secondly, to warn off predators - "look at me, I'm big and strong".
By the bye, I make no claims as to the accuracy of my spelling!

stevegregory's picture

Indoors and glowing is more

Indoors and glowing is more likely to be the centipede Geophilus carpophagus - which often wanders indoors via walls, and is historically known as the 'glow-worm'. Haplophilus (now Stigmatogaster) is a burrowing soil dwelling centipede (albeit common in gardens).


Geophilus's picture


There are records of H.subterraneus indoors but I agree with the comments as to the general pattern. It seems both show bioluminescence as does Geophilus easoni and possibly other British species but, ironically, there does not seem to be clear evidence of Geophilus electricus doing so.

Reasons - warning off predators?
Maybe response to stimulation or to injury.