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Insects and other arthropods

Silverfish and firebrats

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Tabs group

Description

The silverfish and firebrats that we find indoors belong to two species that are similar in shape, but not in colour.

Common silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) are wingless and have a flattened, carrot-shaped body. They have two long antennae on the head and three tail-like appendages at the tip of the abdomen. These insects are covered with metallic grey scales that give them their silvery colour.

Firebrats (Thermobia domestica) can be distinguished by their brownish beige colouring and light and dark markings that give them a mottled appearance.

Life cycle

These insects perform a courting ritual prior to mating, during which the male spins a silken thread and produces a drop of sperm that he places on the ground near the thread. He then finds a female and coaxes her toward the sperm. She picks it up to fertilize her eggs; there is no direct physical contact between the male and female.

Silverfish and firebrats do not undergo true metamorphosis. The young resemble the adults except they are smaller.

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