Fish In Your House

Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) – In the wee dark hours if you get up for a cuppa tea, or to pop to the loo, you might see the back end of one of these little critters as it scurries off to escape the sudden glare of light. It is from a primitive group of insects and has “negative phototaxis”, which means it will instinctively flee from light.

It is a nocturnal scavenger which feeds on carbohydrates and sugars. The species scientific name, ‘saccharina’ literally means ‘starch eater’. It will eat glue, book bindings, paper, photos, sugar, coffee, hair, carpet, clothing and dandruff. It can become a pest in libraries and museums for it voracious appetitie for starches. Outdoors it lives under rocks, in leaf litter, caves, and ant nests. They can live for a year without eating. It has a lifecycle of around 2 1/2 to 3 1/2years, so it is quite a long-lived insect.

I initially found this one in my kitchen sink. Sometimes they are also found in bathtubs. In days gone this gave the impression that they came in the house via the drains, but no, they simply find our sinks and sanitary wear too slippery to climb out once they are in.

Oh, and anybody up for a photo challenge, give these little fast scurrying blighters a go. I was so lucky just to get these shots in.

Silverfish Lepisma saccharina

Silverfish Lepisma saccharina

19 thoughts on “Fish In Your House

  1. You certainly were quick on the draw! I find them in our bath sometimes – as well as scuttling away when I retrieve books from a shelf that hasn’t been used for some time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done in capturing them in a photo, Pete 🙂
    Fast-moving insects and birds are challenging at the best of times, let alone when they don’t like the light.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I am torn apart between fascination for this old living form and the way they can suddenly appear. I remember a different kind when I was a child, they were more silver and a bit smaller. This one is really big, uh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This one was around 12 mm long. These are quite silver in the light, with silvery scales which rub off on your hand if you touch them. We only have 2 species here, the other called a Firebrat (Thermobia domestica) which I have not seen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The ones from my childhood were slender in their figure and you couldn’t see any tentacles (at least on the first sight) like in your picture. But maybe I am mistaken. It is a long time ago.

        Liked by 1 person

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