These centipedes are subterranean, as their name implies. They are worm-like centipedes with slender bodies composed of 35-181 segments, and they have short legs. They live in loose soil in natural areas, but occur in suburban landscaping and gardens. They feed on soft-bodied insects and earthworms; their mouthparts are small and unable to bite humans. In a number of geophilomorphs the secretions of sternal glands are luminescent. In Europe, the luminescent species include Geophilus simplex, G. electricus, G. carpophagus, Necrophloeophagus longicornis, Haplophilus subterraneus, and Strigamia crassipes. In Micronesia, East Indies, and West Africa, the red secretion of Orphaneus brevilabiatus is strongly phosphorescent. In the USA, G. vittatus emits a faint blue-green glow. In general, the geophilomorphs lack eyes, which makes it unlikely that luminescence is used for recognition or sexual attraction. G. car-pophagus is commonly found in houses and outbuildings in the UK.

Necrophlaeophagus longicornis Adults are about 44 mm long and yellowish brown; the number of pairs of legs is 41-53 in males and 43-57 in females. Females deposit 25-45 eggs and remain with them until hatching. Itis reported to be luminescent. This species occurs indoors in the UK.

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