Found this inside my house, along the wall, there were few going somewhere few distance from each other.

I suspect it is a centipede but didn't found similar images on Google. What is this?

Location: Mysore City, India.

Size(only which I saw): the one in the image is about half centimeter, and the smallest one was less than 1/4th of a centimeter.

Color: the one in the image is kind of brownish I guess and the smallest one's are nearly white (pigmentless?)

We assumed this thing is kind of larva of cockroach or big white ant. Is this fully grown insect or still it is a baby? These were behaving like ants do.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Please edit your answer to include the approximate size. thanks $\endgroup$ Apr 30, 2020 at 16:21

1 Answer 1



Based on a comment by ArthurJFrost reminding me of the existence of a group of insects I totally forgot about, AND based on a closer examination of the cerci and what appears to be external mouthparts in the image of the OP's specimen, I think this insect might actually be a webspinner!

  • These insects would be also about the right size, with the described and shown body plans, but also with short (but non-pincer-like) cerci and external mouth parts as in the OP's image. Female webspinners are wingless [source], as well, as the OP's image also appears to be.

See, for example, the black webspinner (Oligotoma nigra) from New Mexico, USA from bugguide.net:

enter image description here

Source: bugguide.net

See also here for additional images of Oligotomidae species. (by the way, O. saundersii is the type species of Oligotomidae within the Indian subcontinent).

@ArthurJFrost, since you are more the expert than I on hexapods, PLEASE PLEASE write up an answer detailing how we might all feel more confident knowing that the webpsinner (and not the dipluran) is the better answer. Visually it appears to be the case to me, but I think you'd be able to point out some specifics for us all to learn from!

  • I will certainly default to you to write up the "official" webspinner answer since my update here on my post is simply to direct away from what I now think is an incorrect answer. I would gladly link to your answer to further emphasize that you came up with this answer.

OLD ANSWER: [Informed guess, but I think it's wrong!]

Based on the thin body plan, extended, segmented abdomen, lack of wings, and pair of posterior cerci, I was immediately reminded of a dipluran (or "two-pronged bristletail").

enter image description here

Sourcce: Wikimedia

It would be good to know the size of your specimen since most diplurans are smaller than 10 mm (though some can reach 50 mm!). A better photo would also be appreciated, since diplurans typically have antennae with beadlike segments, and I cannot tell if that's the case in your photo. I will note that many diplurans have much longer and even filamentous cerci, but others (like your specimen) have shorter cerci.

I am not sure why a dipluran would be inside your house, however, since they live in soil or leaf litter. [source]

Other organisms to rule out:

  • Snakefly (Agulla adnixa) -- no cerci (vs. yours)
  • Centipede -- too many legs (vs. yours)
  • I can't rule out earwigs since I am unfamiliar with the species in India. However, your specimen looks longer, thinner, and possessing smaller cerci than the earwigs I am more familiar with. [A clearer image of the thorax would help to determine if wings are present or not, which (if present) would rule out diplurans altogether and suggest it might be some earwig species I don't know).
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    $\begingroup$ I'm always amazed when people are able to answer these ID questions from limited data, and I really appreciate your style that includes criteria for excluding alternatives - really excellent pedagogy and I hope readers pick up on those cues in addition to the specific IDs. :) $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 30, 2020 at 17:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Bryan thanks for the encouragement! I try to make all my answers thorough + informative (esp with so many inaccurate IDs across the web). I certainly am no expert in any one taxonomic group like Karl Kjer, John Robinson, Arthur J Frost, RHA, and some other of our users, but It actually gets surprisingly easy to narrow to phyla, classes, and even orders when you've ID'd enough organisms -- with most of these having tell-tale characteristics to help narrow options. Though, it's the real puzzles that have been the most fun for me to ID! (e.g., here) $\endgroup$ May 1, 2020 at 1:46
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    $\begingroup$ Another possibility here is a wingless webspinner (order Embioptera AKA Embiidina AKA Embidiina -- at least two of these spellings have seen recent use); I base this guess on the widened front feet (where webspinners keep their silk-glands!). If I'm not off-base, identification further will be difficult if not impossible; wingless webspinners if adult are almost always female, which sex is not usually used for identification. $\endgroup$
    – user32396
    May 3, 2020 at 4:07
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    $\begingroup$ WOOO! @ArthurJFrost you are the expert here, not I, and having taken a look at bugguide.net, I think you're on to something here!! The OP's specimen's cerci match the webspinner's better than any dipluran I've seen (AND, now that I look again, I think I see external mouth parts in the OP's image!). I remember learning about webspinners once, but they're not in my regular rolodex of species I think about. PLEASE write up an answer based on your comment -- preferably outlining why you think webspinner and not dipluran. I know I'd learn something! Thanks $\endgroup$ May 3, 2020 at 5:02

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