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Lepisma saccharina
Lepisma saccharina
Did you know that… ?
  • …there are around 240 species of silverfish worldwide?
  • …silverfish are an ancient order of insects, appearing on the Earth in the Carboniferous (360-300 million years ago)?
  • …silverfish can live up to six years?
  • …the presence of silverfish in a home does not indicate lack of cleanliness, but more likely abundant hiding places?
  • …their silvery scales serve silverfish as feelers?
  • …silverfish do not need to drink, because they absorb water from moist air through a specially adapted anus?
Lepisma saccharina by Miroslav Deml - image is under CC BY
General info
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Zygentoma
Size: 1-2 cm
Food: organic material
Habitat: everywhere in homes
Distribution: world-wide
Relationship with humans: pest

Silverfish are miniscule wingless insects, whose body is covered with silvery scales. They are mostly  nocturnal, when they seek out humid areas (bathrooms, toilets, basements), or places where there is plenty of food and shelter (bakeries, pastry-shops). Silverfish avoid light and can often be spotted trying to hide in a corner after the lights are turned on in a room. They live on substances containing protein and saccharides, like paper, books, tapestries, cotton, leather, silk, flour, sugar, cereals and glue. In small numbers they are essentially harmless, but they can cause problems when they multiply. Silverfish live in nature, usually dwelling under rocks, fallen leaves, bark and such. They lay up the three eggs at a time in tiny cracks.