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Symphylans: Symphyla

Garden Symphylan (scutigerella Immaculata): Species Account

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.

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.)

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. http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Symphyla&contgroup=Arthropoda (accessed on November 3, 2004).

Tasmanian Symphyla. http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/zoology/multipedes/tassymph/symintro.html (accessed on November 3, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceInsects and SpidersSymphylans: Symphyla - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Symphylans And People, Garden Symphylan (scutigerella Immaculata): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS