Updated: May 18, 2023

Silverfish are small, wingless insects that are commonly found in homes and other structures. They are called silverfish because of their silver-grey color and their fish-like movements. They are often considered a nuisance pest because they can cause damage to books, paper products, and textiles. Here are some common silverfish species and how to identify them.

Common Silverfish Species

There are several species of silverfish, but the most common ones are the following:

1. Lepisma saccharina

Lepisma saccharina is the most common species of silverfish. It is also known as the common silverfish or the four-lined silverfish. Its body is about 10-12 millimeters long and is covered with silvery scales that give it a metallic appearance. It has three long bristles on its tail end and two long antennae on its head. The common silverfish feeds on carbohydrates like sugar, starch, and cellulose.

2. Ctenolepisma longicaudatum

Ctenolepisma longicaudatum is also known as the grey silverfish or the long-tailed silverfish. It is slightly larger than the common silverfish and has a body length of about 15 millimeters. Its body is elongated and has a uniform grey color. It has three tail-like appendages at the end of its abdomen, which are longer than those of the common silverfish.

3. Thermobia domestica

Thermobia domestica is also known as the firebrat or the thermophile silverfish. It has a longer, narrow body compared to other species of silverfish, with a length of about 12-15 millimeters. It has a brownish-gray color with lighter markings on its body. This species prefers warmer temperatures and is often found in areas like attics, near furnaces, and in insulation.

How to Identify Silverfish

Silverfish are fairly easy to identify because of their distinct appearance. They have a flat, elongated body that is covered in silvery scales. They have two long antennae on their head and three tail-like appendages at the end of their abdomen. They move quickly and have a distinctive wriggling motion that resembles the movement of a fish.

To identify silverfish, look for the following signs:

1. Shed skins

Silverfish shed their skin as they grow, leaving behind small, white skins that resemble tiny flakes. These skins are often found in areas where silverfish are active, such as in bookshelves or closets.

2. Damage to paper products

Silverfish feed on paper products like books, magazines, and wallpaper paste. Look for small holes or irregular edges on paper products as a sign of silverfish activity.

3. Droppings

Silverfish leave behind small black droppings that resemble pepper or sand. These droppings can be found near areas where silverfish are active, such as in basements or attics.

4. Sightings

Finally, if you see a small, silvery insect with a distinctive wriggling motion, it is likely a silverfish.

Prevention and Treatment

Preventing silverfish infestations is key to avoiding damage to your property. Here are some tips for preventing and treating silverfish infestations:

1. Reduce humidity

Silverfish thrive in humid environments, so reducing humidity levels in your home can help prevent an infestation. Use dehumidifiers or air conditioners to reduce humidity levels.

2. Seal cracks and crevices

Silverfish can enter your home through small cracks and crevices. Seal any openings around windows, doors, pipes, and vents to prevent silverfish from entering your home.

3. Store paper products properly

Store books, magazines, and other paper products in sealed containers to prevent silverfish from feeding on them.

4. Use insecticides

Insecticides can be used to treat silverfish infestations. Apply insecticides to cracks and crevices where silverfish are likely to hide.

In conclusion, identifying and treating silverfish infestations is important for protecting your property from damage. By knowing the common species of silverfish and how to identify them, you can take steps to prevent and treat infestations. Remember to reduce humidity levels, seal cracks and crevices, store paper products properly, and use insecticides as needed.