BugFinder Insects by State Spiders Butterflies & Moths Bees, Ants, & Wasps Beetles All Bugs Videos (YouTube)

Gray Silverfish (Ctenolepisma longicaudata)

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

Loading SVG image placeholder
Image Credit: Nathaniel from NC
Full-sized image of the Gray-Silverfish Thumbnail image of the Gray-Silverfish

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

Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Gray Silverfish is a fast insect usually found around dark, warm places inside a home (ovens, furnaces, fireplaces, bathroom vents, clothes dryer, etc.). It has a very flat body and can run under baseboards and into other tight spaces to hide. It has three thread-like tails found at tip of its abdomen that almost match the length of their antennae. Silverfish bodies are covered in flexible and slippery gray 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 or cupboards 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 so it is common to find them in libraries, both public and at home. It is also not unusual to even find them between the pages of old books. Gray Silverfish can live for months without eating. They are harmless to humans, though many people consider them a nuisance. This type of insect requires a long time to mature. Some Silverfish need 2 years to become fully-grown adults, and other species take even longer.

Known Diet of the Gray-Silverfish

paper and textile products

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Thysanura
        Family: Lepismatidae
View More
          Genus: Ctenolepisma
View More
            Species: longicaudata
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Ctenolepisma longicaudata
Other Name(s): Silverfish
Category: Bristletail
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 20mm (0.39" to 0.78")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: gray, black, silver
Descriptors: fast, tail, three, flat, silver

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 10mm (0.4in) and 20mm (0.8in)
Lo: 10mm
Md: 15mm
Hi: 20mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above 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 is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects 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. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Gray Silverfish. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Sitemap

Beetle Identification Butterfly Identification Caterpillar Identification Spider ID

www.InsectIdentification.org • Content ©2006- InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved. The InsectIdentification.org logo, its written content, and watermarked photographs/imagery are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and is protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. This resource uses publically-released information. Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (regarding bites, etc...).Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. By submitting images to us (InsectIdentification.org) you acknowledge that you have read and understood our Site Disclaimer as it pertains to "User-Submitted Content". When emailing please include your location and the general estimated size of the specimen in question if possible. Please direct all inquiries and comments to insectidentification AT gmail.com.

www.InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2006-

Facebook Logo YouTube Logo