Nature on our doorsteps: Silverfish in the house
Silverfish can regrow a lost leg or a broken antenna.

Nature on our doorsteps: Silverfish in the house

We may not always be aware of it, but we share our living spaces with a range of other creatures.

Some of these are obvious, like the spider, while others are rarely seen because they tend to come out at night.

The Silverfish is one of these nocturnal creatures, and these can sometimes be spotted scuttling across the bathroom floor whenever a light is switched on during the night.

Silverfish are shy, wingless insects that get their name from the lovely tiny silvery scales that cover their bodies.

They have a long tapered shape and when they walk, their bodies move from side to side like a swimming fish.

Although they can sometimes be found outdoors under stones, rotting leaves and wood, they are very comfortable living in our warm, humid houses.

Silverfish have two long antennae and three tail bristles

Silverfish feed on foods that are rich in proteins and carbohydrates, so they look for flour, bread, cereals, and sugar.

They will also eat the glues and pastes used in making books and wallpaper.

Silverfish can live up to seven years, which is a long time for an insect.

They shed their skin each time they need to grow, and it is at these times that they can replace a lost leg or a broken antenna.

Because they do not lay very many eggs, their numbers tend not to build up very fast in our houses. Numbers can build up over time, however, in bakeries and libraries.

In our homes, their numbers are controlled by house spiders who happily feed on them.