Silverfish are considered the oldest insect species on the planet. They have been around for over 400 million years. During this time, they evolved from a lineage of insects that lacked wings.
Silverfish are part of the Zygentoma order. These insects have a cosmopolitan distribution. As a result, they can be found in nearly every terrestrial niche.
They can live without food for a year or longer. Their unusual diet is largely based on polysaccharides, including starchy substances. They may also feed on glue, paper, vegetables, and dead insects.
They live in damp places and are nocturnal. This helps them escape predators. They are commonly spotted in houses, basements, showers, and other moist environments. Despite their small size, they can outmaneuver most predators.
They live in relative humidity of 75-95%. A common problem for householders is catching silverfish when they are looking for water. It is important to keep them out of the house.
Silverfish eggs can hatch in less than 20 days at temperatures of 32 degC. Some females lay between seven and twenty eggs.
They molt between 25 and 66 times during their lifespan. They can take up to two years to reach full maturity.
They have long antennae. These antennae are used for mating. The male lays a spermatophore in the ovipositor. When the female is ready to mate, she detects the spermatophore near a silk structure.
They are a cosmopolitan order of insects. There are twenty species of Nicoletiidae, three species of Maindroniidae, and one species of Lepidotrichidae.