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Order Zygentoma - Silverfish

cavernicole Nicoletiid, sp.? silverfish species? - Ctenolepisma lineatum Four-lined Silverfish - Ctenolepisma lineatum sand dunes silverfish - Leucolepisma arenarium apteran crawling across trail in Vargas Plateau Regional Park late morning of 2021 Sept 17 A. spinulata - Allacrotelsa spinulata Lepismatidae sp. (Lepisma saccharinum?) ?Firebrat
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Zygentoma (Silverfish)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Thysanura, in whole or in part [see Remarks section below]
The extant genus Tricholepidion was transferred from Lepidotrichidae to the newly created family Tricholepidiidae; Lepidotrichidae now contains only the extinct genus Lepidothrix from Baltic amber (see Engel 2006)
ca. 120 spp. worldwide; 18 spp. in 14 genera of 3 families in NA(1)
up to 15 mm, usually 8-10 mm
wingless; body flattened, silvery or gray or brownish with or without markings; tip of abdomen with 1 long medial filament and 2 lateral cerci often as long as the medial one, and projecting at right-angles to the body; long thread-like antennae with many segments; eyes small (or absent) and do not touch; mandibles articulate at two points; can run quickly but cannot jump

The families are separated as follows(2):
Lepismatidae: compound eyes only; body covered with scales
Tricholepiidae: ocelli only; body not covered with scales
Nicoletiidae: no eyes; body may or may not be covered with scales
Lepismatidae occur throughout much of NA and include, among others, two cosmopolitan spp.: the Common Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) and the Firebrat (Thermobia domestica)
Tricholepidiidae is represented by a single species, the Forest Silverfish (Tricholepidion gertschi), which lives in carpenter ant nests in forests of n. CA and perhaps OR
Nicoletiidae occur in TX and se. US, are blind, often pure white, and live underground in caves, under rocks, or in termite nests
often found indoors in damp environments; the Common Silverfish is frequently seen in bathrooms and kitchens, whereas the Firebrat 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.
all year indoors; active at night, hide during the day, and avoid direct light
starchy foods, cereals, moist wheat flour, glue on book bindings and wallpaper; free-living spp. eat lichens
Life Cycle
young look like adults, develop slowly, live several years
The name Thysanura has been variously applied and originally included springtails, diplurans, bristletails, and silverfish, then used to refer to various combinations thereof. To avoid confusion, recent authors have chosen to discontinue using that name. (See Thysanura & Thysanoura, Kluge 2000)
See Also
Bristletails (Microcoryphia), unlike the Silverfish, can jump, are not normally found indoors, have large eyes that meet in the middle, a cylindrical body, an arched thorax, and mandibles articulated at a single point
Internet References
taxonomy, history, nomenclature (Kluge 2000)
Taxon page (Smith 1998)(3)
Works Cited
1.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
2.Borror and DeLong's Introduction to the Study of Insects
Norman F. Johnson, Charles A. Triplehorn. 2004. Brooks Cole.
3.Australian Faunal Directory