A comparative survey of the epipharynx and hypopharynx of lithobiomorph centipedes by light and scanning electron microscopy examines 18 species that sample the major groups of both families, the Lithobiidae and Henicopidae. Cladistic analysis of 11 characters of the peristomatic structures together with 29 additional morphological characters serves as a basis for interpreting the evolution of the lithobiomorph peristomatic structures. Scutigeromorpha is used for outgroup comparison in the framework of a homology scheme for the basic components of the epi- and hypopharynx. Compared to other chilopods, the monophyly of Lithobiomorpha is supported by a row of distinctive bottle-shaped gland openings at the border between the labral and clypeal parts of the epipharynx, as well as by a distinctive shape of the hypopharynx. Paired rows of elongate spines on the clypeal part of the epipharynx are an apomorphic character of Lithobiidae. The transformation of these spine rows into a few groups of branching spines is characteristic for the Monotarsobius group sensu Verhoeff. Similar groups of branching clypeal spines characterize the Anopsobiinae within Henicopidae, whereas Henicopinae possess a dense cluster of short, simple spines instead. The recently described genus Dzhungaria is resolved closer to Henicopinae than to Anopsobiinae, a hypothesis supported by a field of grooves on the medial labral part of the epipharynx. Monophyly of Henicopidae does not receive unique support from the peristomatic structures although two homoplastic characters contribute to this node; among these, the reduction of a median spine field between clypeal and labral parts of the epipharynx to a narrow transverse band also supports a close relationship between the Ezembius group and Hessebius within Lithobiidae. An Ezembius + Hessebius clade is additionally supported by the absence of a transverse bulge between the clypeal and labral parts of the epipharynx, a character otherwise present in all lithobiomorph species studied so far. Lithobius is resolved as polyphyletic, with different species being most closely related to such genera as Australobius, Hessebius and Pleurolithobius. J. Morphol., 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.