T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Apterygota
Order: Zygentoma
Family: Lepismatidae
Genus: Lepisma
Species: L. saccharina
Binomial name: Lepisma saccharina
Common name: Silverfish

Lepisma saccharina’s common name ‘Silverfish’ derives from the animal's silvery light grey colour (sometimes blackish), combined with the fish-like appearance of its movements. Its scientific name L. saccharina indicates the silverfish's diet consists of carbohydrates such as sugar or starches. Silverfish originated 400 million years ago and are some of the earliest known insects. They can be found worldwide in attics, basements, bathrooms and kitchens - wherever it is dark and there is moisture. They consume dead insects or starches and sugars such as the glue in old books, carpet fibres, clothing and fabrics.

Lepisma saccharina are small, wingless, insects >25 mm long. Their abdomens taper at the end, giving them a fish-like appearance. The newly hatched are whitish but develop a greyish hue and metallic shine as they get older. They have two long cerci and one terminal filament at the tips of their abdomens; the filament projects directly off of the end of their body, between the left and right cerci. They also have two small compound eyes.
Silverfish fear light and hence are mostly nocturnal. They can move very fast when disturbed and can outrun most of their predators (including wandering spiders and centipedes).
They can live 2 to 3 years and can produce more than 50 offspring. Silverfish can even live up to a year without eating at all. Although they do not transmit diseases, they can be very damaging pests.





A photo of a book damage by silverfish. They also eat wallpaper attracted by the paper and the flour in the glue.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/