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Silverfish: Help! There's Sharks under the carpet!

Updated on October 12, 2011

Picture of adult Silverfish!

Best get rid of them earlier!
Best get rid of them earlier!

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!...

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    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Fishmoths...they are really harmless but people say you are dirty if you have them

      Bob

    • Teresa Schultz profile image

      Teresa Schultz 

      5 years ago from East London, in South Africa

      What a superb start to a hub; well done. Interesting info too. I think I've seen fishmoths before, not sure, but whatever little insect or creature came wriggling into a bathroom while I was otherwise engaged, I would freak!

    • profile image

      diogenes 

      6 years ago

      Half is a life full of life and study and half resourses. Cheers dear...Bob

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      6 years ago from London, UK

      That was a lovely story as well as interesting and informative. You have so much knowledge about all these creatures.

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Ha! I used to get scorps every day when I lived in Mexico; they seem such mindless creatures. I was only stung once and it was quite enough! But they aren't really aggressive, they just get underfoot or under your hand on a stone wall. None in UK just silverfish and their ilk...Bob

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 

      6 years ago

      My goodness Bob watching this little silver fish seems better than reading a newspaper or maginzine on the throne..lol

      I probibly have seen one but didn't know what it was..This was very interesting..I would rather see one of those little creatures than the huge scorpion I found the other day..YIKES!

      Thanks for a great, funny, informative hub,

      Sunnie

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      You're both right, carcro and 'angel. As I don't see as well these days, I often think I am looking at the world through a film-maker's soft lens. They are probably horrible little varmints! They don't bother me, though...Bob

    • sweetoneangel profile image

      sweetoneangel 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      Great hub, I agree I do not find them cute, but it has been many years since I have seen any around.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 

      6 years ago from Winnipeg

      That's what they are, every now and then we'll see one in the laundry room, but to me they are anything but cute, I usually give them a ride on the porcelain express, at least they have fun on the way out....

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hola preciosa: Thank you for comment...Bob

    • profile image

      Lady_Tenaz 

      6 years ago

      This was funny and a great write my friend. I remember seeing those little pests when I was a kid, never knew anything about them before now. Good read.

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Thanks WOL and Neman...I cant open emails with hubbers stories, etc. There is a thread on it...no blue link any more just the name and details in heavy print. Please follow thread...Bob

      I got lots more creative thoughts, WOL, I'll think of something! Bob

    • nemanjaboskov profile image

      Nemanja Boškov 

      6 years ago from Serbia

      I agree with writeronline! A great way to start a hub :)

    • profile image

      writeronline 

      6 years ago

      Bob, you gotta delete this Hub, wait until November, and resubmit just the opening.

      Re-post it as the ultimate creative thought starter for people wanting to enter the prose competition. Who could fail to be inspired to finish the story, after an opening like this..."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...."

      Unreal attention grabber!

      Cheers

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