Overview

Brief Summary

Introduction

Under bark, litter, caves, ant nests, deserts, etc. Omnivorous. 4 Families (3 in North America), 370 Species (in North America)

  Oligocene to Recent. Lepidotrichidae more widespread in early deposits than currently. 

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Comprehensive Description

Characteristics

Characteristics: 
     
  • body flattened 
  • long cerci and median filament 
  • compound eyes separate 

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Distribution

Geographic Range

There are around 370 species from four different families in the order Thysanura. Their distribution is worldwide.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native ); ethiopian (Native ); neotropical (Native ); australian (Native )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Range length: 7.0 to 19.0 mm.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Ecology

Habitat

Silverfish live under bark, leaf litter, in caves and other underground dwellings, including mammal burrows. Some species are found in buildings associated with humans. Silverfish can exist under extreme environments. Some tolerate wet, cool regions, and others tolerate the low humidity and high temperatures of arid regions.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; chaparral ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest

Wetlands: marsh ; swamp ; bog

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Ecosystem Impact: biodegradation

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

  • ants
  • termites

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Predation

Known Predators:

  • Araneae

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Known predators

Thysanura (Thysanura, Isoptera, other Tenebrionidae) is prey of:
Solpugidae
Scorpiones
Araneae
Talpinae
Aporosaura
Typhlosaurus
Canis
Hyaeninae
Aves

Based on studies in:
Namibia, Namib Desert (Desert or dune)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • E. Holm and C. H. Scholtz, Structure and pattern of the Namib Desert dune ecosystem at Gobabeb, Madoqua 12(1):3-39, from p. 21 (1980).
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Known prey organisms

Thysanura (Thysanura, Isoptera, other Tenebrionidae) preys on:
detritus

Based on studies in:
Namibia, Namib Desert (Desert or dune)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • E. Holm and C. H. Scholtz, Structure and pattern of the Namib Desert dune ecosystem at Gobabeb, Madoqua 12(1):3-39, from p. 21 (1980).
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Development

Molting occurs throughout the life of the insect. It takes up to two years for a silverfish to complete its development from juvenile to adult.

Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Silverfish can live up to four years.

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
4.0 (high) years.

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Reproduction

Key Reproductive Features: parthenogenic

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:56
Specimens with Sequences:36
Specimens with Barcodes:28
Species:4
Species With Barcodes:4
Public Records:26
Public Species:3
Public BINs:15
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Barcode data

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Negative Impacts: household pest

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Silverfish that are outdoor species are useful decomposers of organic materials.

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