Silverfish, line drawing.
- Andrew Howells
- © Australian Museum
Silverfish belong to the Order Zygentoma (formerly Thysanura).
- 2 mm - 18 mm in length.
- Column-like, tear-drop or spindle-shaped.
- Often hairy, with tufts common between eyesAppears hard and covered in scales.
- Have tiny styli (soft finger-like projections) coming from the underside some of the abdomen segments.
- Thread-like, with many segments.
- Longer than half the body length.
- Absent or small, berry-like and well separated.
- For chewing.
- Held in front or downwards at rest.
- Six legs, short and stocky.
- Three tails (two cerci and one middle filament), thread-like, and similar in size; at rest the two outer tails aredirected at an angle away from the body.
Where are silverfish found?
- Under bark, rocks or among leaf litter.
- In soil or within caves.
- In the desert, as some are capable of absorbing water from the atmosphere.
- Living in ant and termite nests.
- In houses, where they favour areas of high humidity like bathrooms.
What do silverfish do?
- They often group together around food sources.
- When disturbed they remain still, run for cover or hop.
- They feed on fungi, and plant material. In the home they may feed on starchy substances such as wallpaper glue, book bindings and photographs.
- They are normally active at night, if active during the day generally found in dark places.
What looks similar?
- Bristletails are easily confused with Silverfish. They maybe separated from Silverfish by their large eyes that touch; their long middle tail, which is considerably longer than the cerci; and they jump when disturbed