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Gray Silverfish (Ctenolepisma longicaudata)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Gray Silverfish.


 Updated: 1/18/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Gray Silverfish  
Picture of Gray-Silverfish


Gray Silverfish are usually spotted indoors, scurrying around floors and up walls, looking for a warm place to rest.





These fast insects are usually found around dark, warm places inside a home (ovens, furnaces, fireplaces, bathroom vents, clothes dryer). They are very flat and can run under baseboards and into other tight spaces to hide. It has three thread-like tails found at tip of its abdomen. Silverfish bodies are covered in flexible and slippery scales that help prevent the insect from capture by bigger things like centipedes and spiders.

All Silverfish are attracted to dry, starchy substances, which comprise their food. It is not unusual to find them wandering around in pantries where bags of flour, sacks of potatoes and other starchy delights are stored. The crusty glue that binds old book pages together is also source of food to Gray Silverfish. It is also not unusual to find them in the pages of old books, or running even around libraries. Gray Silverfish can live for months without eating. They are harmless to humans, though many humans consider them a nuisance.

Another interesting fact about these insects is how long it takes them to mature. Some Silverfish need 2 years to become fully-grown adults, and other species take even longer.
Basic Information
Common Name: Gray Silverfish
Other Name(s): Silverfish
Scientific Name: Ctenolepisma longicaudata
Category: Bristletail


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 20mm (0.39in to 0.78in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: gray, black, silver
Additional Descriptors: fast, tail, three, flat, silver




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Thysanura
Family: Lepismatidae
Genus: Ctenolepisma
Species: longicaudata




Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Gray Silverfish may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


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