Silverfish: Help! There's Sharks under the carpet!
Picture of adult Silverfish!
Cute, but can be pests
I was sitting on the throne the other day, gazing expansively around my bathroom after enjoying a modicum of success, passing what felt like a football, when I detected movement of another kind under the edge of the hall carpet, which finishes at the bathroom door.
As I watched with no little fascination a tiny fish-like critter wriggled out from under the carpet and proceeded to “swim” in my direction over the bathroom lino.
As it closed with the giant on the potty, he extended a huge foot and the “fish” turned smartly and swam back from whence it came - under the hall carpet.
I remembered what it was from seeing them as a child (I marvelled that evolution had allowed them such a tenure on the planet!).
It was, of course, a Silverfish, also called “Carpet Sharks, Fishmoths and Paramites.”
The scientific name of these interesting chaps is “Lepisima Saccharina,” a title which refers to their diet.
They are far from having any relation to the finny world, or course, and are really small, wingless insects. Their shape and their method of movement reminds of fish, hence the best known title.
The name, saccharina, relates to their preferred diet, so does the sobriquet carpet moth, as they can eat material like the Clothes Moth if they can’t get any sugar or substances like glue, which they love.
They are tagged as being pests, because silverfish will eat just about any organic material around the house or in your wardrobe, although they won’t be often found in the dry, central heated parts of the house. They enjoy medium to high humidity: your garage, laundry room, bathroom, etc.
They have the most fascinating mating dance which ends when the male discharges a gossamer-wrapped “spermataphore.” The female then takes this up into her own body allowing her to fertilize her eggs, subsequently laid by her.
Silverfish can live to 8 years of age and grow to about 3/4” in length. “Jaws,” (my own pet silverfish) is only about 1/8” and must be a teenager.
Silverfish are completely harmless to us although they can be a menace to our clothing; they are associated with no diseases.
Cute little fellas actually; add interest to a trip to the bog!...