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TaxonomyBrowse
Info
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Family Lepismatidae

Firebrat - Thermobia domestica Silverfish- Any way to tell species? Possible Immature Silverfish Fast-crawling bug - Thermobia domestica Silverfish ? Silverfish - Family: Lepismatidae Common Silverfish
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Zygentoma (Silverfish)
Family Lepismatidae
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
the former Ctenolepisma quadriseriata was synonymized with C. lineata (the Four-lined Silverfish), and the former Ctenolepisma urbana was synomymized with C. longicaudata (the Gray [or Giant] Silverfish)
Disable your browser's JavaScript [Active Scripting], then see bugpeople.org
the former Thermobia campbelli, cincta, and longimana were synonymized with T. aegyptiaca in a 1998 revision of the genus by J. Irish
Numbers
14 species in 9 genera in North America listed at nearctica.com
Size
length to 19 mm; common species usually 8-12 mm
Identification
Distinguished from all other North American silverfish by the presence of compound eyes.
Range
cosmopolitan
Habitat
often found indoors in warm, damp environments; the Common Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) is frequently seen in bathrooms and kitchens, whereas the Firebrat (Thermobia domestica) is usually found in basements around furnaces and in insulation around hot water and heating pipes; these and other species also occur outdoors under bark, in leaf litter, caves, ant nests, deserts, etc.
Season
all year indoors; they are active at night, hide during the day, and avoid direct light
Food
omnivorous: starchy foods, cereals, moist wheat flour, glue on book bindings and wallpaper, starch in clothing made of cotton or rayon fabric; outdoor individuals eat lichens
Remarks
Lepismatidae is the largest family of silverfish in North America, with the most commonly encountered and widespread species. A second family, Tricholepidiidae, is represented by a single species, the Forest Silverfish (Tricholepidion gertschi), which lives only in northern California forests. A third family, known as Subterranean Silverfish (Nicoletiidae), occurs in Texas and the southeastern states.
See Also
may be confused with Bristletails (order Microcoryphia), which have large eyes that meet in the middle, a cylindrical body, an arched thorax, mandibles that articulate at only one point, are not normally found indoors, and have the ability to jump
Internet References
distribution of families in North America, plus other info (Insects of Cedar Creek, Minnesota)
adult images of Common Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) and Firebrat (Thermobia domestica) plus other info in French (Insects of Quebec)
live adult image of Firebrat plus description and references (David Maddison, Tree of Life)
taxonomic position and history plus synonyms, authors, and dates (N. Kluge, St. Petersburg State U., Russia)
classification plus nomenclature and taxonomic references (G.B. Smith, Dept. of Environment and Water Resources, Australia)
Firebrat image, description, distribution, etc. (Matthew Bowser, U. of Alaska at Fairbanks)
description, habits, and control of silverfish and firebrats (Barb Ogg, U. of Nebraska)