Silverfish are a beautiful, quick, fast-running insect group of species that live both in houses and out.

The outdoor species hide under stones and leaves during the day and emerge at night to forage, and the internal species are well-adapted to survive inside. Silverfish spend most of their lives hidden. They are attracted to warm places such as fireplaces, and indeed, they are resistant to drying out.

Silverfish are scavengers or browsers; they survive on a wide range of food, but prefer a diet of necromass, plant-life such as algae and lichens, or papairic material, such as paper or starched clothing. They also like to eat debris found in bread-bins and such.

Silverfish are rather long-lived for their size; They normally last from three to eight years, though they molt frequently, even after reaching adulthood. They never metamorphise.

There are more than 700 species in the world 9 of which have been found in the Britain, and 18 in North America.

Though insectile, they are flightless, with external mouth-parts. They have long antennae with on average 30 segements, which are used in conjunction with their eyes. The body has eleven segments ending in three tails.

They are common household pests, though the Silverfish is very clean, and as they clean up papairic debris and such, it's actually good to have a few thysanura in the home, as with spiders.

Silverfish don't have sex. Instead, the male deposits sperm packets, and the female picks it up and puts it in her vagina. The eggs are thought to be inserted into cracks and soil litter for safety.

Though nocturnal, they are attracted to light like moths, and also are about as hard to get rid of.

Sil"ver*fish` (?), n. Zool.

(a) The tarpum.

(b) A white variety of the goldfish.

2. one of a variety of insects of the order Thysanura; -- esp. Lepisma saccharina, which may infest houses, and eats starched clothing and sized papers. See Lepisma.

© Webster 1913.

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