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« "Okay Carboniferous, so it's probably an Arthropeurid. That's a centipede on steroids, basically" »
Connor Temple's description of Arthropleura[src]
Creature information
Home time period Late Carboniferous - Early Permian period
Creature type Arthropod
Production information
Fatalities caused London Underground pest controller
Stephen Hart (discounting the other creatures)
Appearances Episode 1.2
Episode 2.6
Episode 2.7
Does this infobox follow the rules?

Arthropleura was a giant relative of centipedes and millipedes that lived in Great Britain and North America during the Carboniferous period. It is the largest known land invertebrate of all time, and grew so large because of the high concentration of oxygen in Carboniferous Earth's atmosphere.


The body of the Arthopleura was composed of thirty armoured plates, which each had a pair of legs under them, and its body was about six metres long. According to Connor Temple, Arthropleura ate dead wood and leaves, and therefore it apparently didn't eat its victims that it bit. Arthropleura was also practically blind, but had a good sense of smell and touch, and was a burrower. Connor also stated that Arthropleura was a timid creatures, but the Arthropleura encountered in the London Underground was highly aggressive and could be easily provoked into attacking. Claudia Brown jokingly speculated that the Underground Arthropleura's aggression was due to a personality disorder. (Episode 1.2)


Claudia Brown: "Not poisonous, you said!"
Connor Temple: "Look, I was only speculating!"
―The Home Office team upon learning Arthropleura is venomous[src]

Arthropleura had two powerful pincers and a deadly venom injected into a victim through a long, thin, metallic-looking tube in a similar manner to an insect bite. Symptoms of Arthropleura poisoning included:

1x2 Arthropleura 10

The Arthropleura about to attack the Home Office team from above. (Episode 1.2)

  • Uncontrollable shaking and convulsion
  • Numbness in the legs
  • Death after a matter of hours if untreated
  • Short-term memory loss in surviving patients

Once a victim was bitten, the venom would then begin to slowly attack the central nervous system, not so far removed from modern biochemistry as to be totally ineffective and any enzyme inhibitor would be detrimental to an extent. An anti-venom could be derived from pure samples of Arthropleura venom, but without this anti-venom, poisoned victims had a 0% chance of survival.

Incursions and encountersEdit

Episode 1.2Edit

1x2 Arthropleura 22

An Arthropleura is repelled by fire. (Episode 1.2)

An Arthropleura came through an Anomaly into the London Underground in the present beneath Arsenal Station, and bit and poisoned a pest controller.

The Arthropleura attacked Nick Cutter, Stephen Hart and Abby Maitland at the Anomaly site the next day, but the three all escaped. Later, when Stephen returned to the Anomaly site to find Cutter, the Arthropleura attacked him again. At first, Stephen managed to fend it off with fire, but the Arthropleura was ultimately able to bite and poison him. Afterwards, the Arthropleura burrowed through the walls into an electrics bunker.

Cutter, Connor and Tom Ryan followed the Arthropleura's burrow to the electrical room. When Connor accidentally alerted the Arthropleura by knocking over a stool, the creature attacked them and bit Cutter on the wrist (but failed to poison him due to a protective armband). Connor tried to fend the Arthropleura off with a metal stool, which got jammed between the creature's pincers. While trying to shake the stool loose, the Arthropleura accidentally smashed it into an electrical box, electrocuting it. Burnt and weakened, the Arthropleura then fell from the floor it was on, to its death.

Episode 2.6/2.7Edit

1x2 Arthropleura 44

An Arthropleura biting and attempting to poison Nick Cutter. (Episode 1.2)

An Arthropleura was captured by Oliver Leek's organisation and put in Leek's Creature Prison as part of his creature army. When the Creature Prison's security system failed, the Arthropleura and the other creatures were freed and ran amok in the bunker. The Arthropleura presumably died after Nick, Stephen and Helen Cutter lured the creatures back to the cage room with the food siren and locked the creatures inside so that they would kill each other.

Real lifeEdit

Arthropleura (name meaning "Jointed Ribs") was an arthropod genus and ancestor of modern day centipedes and millipedes, and one of the largest known land invertebrates of all time. It lived from 340 to 280 million years ago, during the upper Carboniferous period, in what is now Scotland and northeast North America. Arthropleura is thought to have been a herbivore, and it could move and swerve very quickly among its habitat's forest floor and around obstacles. Due to the Carboniferous atmosphere's higher oxygen concentration and Arthropleura's lack of predators, it was able to grow larger than modern arthropods, being between 0.3 and 2.6 metres (1 and 8.5 feet) long. Arthropleura died out at the start of the Permian period due to destruction of the Carboniferous rainforests to desertification and arid climate.


  • The Silurian Millipedes in Episode 2.5 were the same CGI model as the Arthropleura. Some fans also believe that these Millipedes were Eoarthropleura, the Silurian ancestors of Arthropleura.
  • Arthropleura was the first venomous creature in Primeval.
  • As Arthropleura ate dead plant matter in the Primeverse according to Connor, the creature's venom is believed to be a defence against predators and not a means of subduing prey.
  • A few fans have speculated that the Arthropleurid species seen in Primeval may not have been Arthropleura at all; due to the fact that Connor referred to the creature just as an Arthropleurid, and due to the differences between Primeval's Arthropleura and the real-life version.


  • The Arthropleura in Primeval was different from the creatures seen in the fossil record, in addition to the Arthropleura in Walking with Monsters and Prehistoric Park. For dramatic effect, the Arthropleura was heavily re-imagined by the producers, and was six meters long (approximately twice as long as the real animal was).
  • Some fans have commented how the Arthropleura would not have been able to survive in modern day as there would not be enough oxygen in the air to support its massive size. This would be true for the Creature Prison but in the London Underground the atmosphere from its Anomaly was flowing into the present.
  • In Episode 1.2, Connor Temple looked up the Arthropleura on his database but it was only meant to have vertebrates (Arthropluera is a non-vertebrate). Alternatively Connor could have been on the internet.
  • Arthropleura was not venomous by any means, since it had no enemies and only eats dead plants.  

See alsoEdit

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