SILVERFISH

Ctenolepisma longicaudata Escherich

[Thysanura: Lepismatidae]

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An article written by Bruce Gow


Adult: Silverfish are approximately 15 mm long. The body is elongate, tapering rearward and dorso-ventrally (top to bottom) flattened. Ctenolepisma longicaudata is covered in scales which are predominantly silver-grey and not banded.

Head: Silverfish have compound eyes and long filiform antennae (longer than the body). Maxillary palpi are 5-segmented and mouthparts are covered with a beard (a row of setae).

Thorax: Silverfish are wingless.

Abdomen: Abdominal segments 2-6 are covered in scales and barbed setae that are arranged into 3 pairs of combs. Three abdominal appendages are present. Silverfish have a pair of cerci and an appendix dorsalis. The cerci and appendix dorsalis are longer than the abdomen.


Reproduction& Life-cycle:Females lay up to 50 eggs in batches on 2-20. Eggs are ovoid, 1 mm long, cream-coloured and placed in crevices during summer. The eclosion period is 3-7 weeks. Nymphs are similar to adults in appearance and undergo 15 moults. Nymphal development is 2-3 years. Silverfish continue to moult as adults and live for up to 4 years. Adults can survive for approximately 9 months without food.


Distribution:Ctenolepisma longicaudata is a common pest in eastern Australia.

Pest Status:Silverfish feed on paper, starch and fabrics in urban habitats and are potentially a serious pest in libraries.

“The bane of nice clothes and paper or cardboard packaging. If you have a valuable personal library we definitely recommend treatments for Silverfish and would be happy to do so!” – Bruce G.

Call us up on 0417 251 911 and we can organize a last minute appointment if needed, alternatively you can use our “contact us” page to send us a message and we’ll get back to you ASAP.