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Photo#351131
Possible Nicoletiid that's way out of its normal range?

Possible Nicoletiid that's way out of its normal range?
near Dora Kelley Park, Alexandria County, Virginia, USA
November 7, 2009
Size: 6 mm
This individual strongly resembled this photo of Grassiella wheeleri when alive. I'm exceptionally curious because all the references I can find; including Borror, Triplehorn and Johnson's An Introduction to the Study of Insects, 6th ed., say that all North American Nicoletiidae occur only in Texas and Florida.

I found this along with ~50 others in the early afternoon (between noon and 2). They were under a rotting board next to a nest of small ants of unknown type (unfortunately I don't know how to identify ants). They scurried like silverfish normally do and they didn't jump.

I'll post a picture (albeit a relatively poor one--I'm very new to photography) of an ant that I found with this specimen.

Note: the markings on the ruler below are 1/8 in., so the specimen is about 6 mm.

Images of this individual: tag all
Possible Nicoletiid that's way out of its normal range? Possible Nicoletiid that's way out of its normal range? Possible Nicoletiid that's way out of its normal range?

Moved
Moved from ID Request... to Nicoletiidae, hoping that the right person will see these images here and comment one of these days. Doesn't seem like we have anyone knowledgeable about silverfish visiting ID Request at this point.

 
Possibly an introduced species; new records sought
According to Dr. Greg Paulson of Shippensburg University, these are Nicoletiidae but probably not Grassiella, the genus found in the SW USA. In collaboration with Dr. Paulson, the specimens have been sent to Dr. Luis Mendes in Portugal for examination. Specimens similar to these were collected in PA earlier this year. The PA specimens, and probably these VA samples, constitute a new genus record for the USA and may be a new species.

Dr. Paulson and Dr. Mendes need male specimens to be able to provide definitive species identification. Once identifications are completed we will publish our findings. Both the PA and VA samples were found in association with ants in the genus Tetramorium, possibly caespitum. If anyone locates more of these Dr. Paulson and Dr. Mendes could use more specimens, especially males.

 
Thanks for the follow-up
I look forward to hearing what Dr. Mendes has to say. Did you collect any of the ants? I saw that the ant image you submitted was "frassed"--a clearer shot would be needed to ID it from a photo.

Eyes?
I know nothing about silverfish, but according to (1) a silverfish with no eyes belongs to Nicoletiidae (FL & TX), one with simple eyes (ocelli) belongs to Lepidotrichidae (northern CA), and if compound eyes are present, it's Lepismatidae. I can't tell which is the case in these photos, but if you still have a specimen these should be easy to separate with magnification.

 
None that I could see
Yesterday I checked the specimen under a microscope and found no hint of an eye--compound or otherwise.

I posted additional images of these mysterious creatures: & . I also posted an image of the ant with which I found them: .

After doing some research (which I describe under the first image above) I have come to believe that Nicoletiids may be expanding their range with their (possible) hosts, Solenopsis spp.

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