Insect logo



Home Who We Are List of Orders References Contact Us

*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Order Zygentoma (formerly Thysanura): the silverfish and firebrats — Examples

Silverfish
Firebrat, likely the genus Thermobia, family Lepismatidae, order Zygentoma.
□ Firebrats often show up in a warm humid places, like a bathroom (as this one did!). They are speedy little creatures. Note the three “tails” (called cerci) — one that goes straight back and two others that extend to each side.
Photographed by: Ibrahim Hlwani. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Cairo, Egypt. Date: 11 October, 2017.
Ibrahim says, “I found it in my bathtub.”
Firebrat (Thermobia domestica)
Firebrat, Thermobia domestica family Lepismatidae, order Zygentoma.
□ The head of this Firebrat is to the lower left. One of its three “tails” (called cerci) is visible at the upper right. They like places where it is warm and moist, so they are fond of bathrooms in houses, and places like boiler rooms in larger facilities. The photographer spotted this one in the emergency room at a hospital.
Photographed by: Lisa Hetchler. Identified to by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. Date: 3 April, 2019.
Lisa says, “This little guy was very very quick so I couldn’t get a very good picture.”
Firebrat
Firebrat, Thermobia domestica family Lepismatidae, order Zygentoma.
□ Firebrats are often banded, like this one, whereas Silverfish are usually unbanded. Firebrats are smaller than silverfish, and most are less than a half inch (1.2 cm) long. Note: This species is sometimes listed by a different scientific name: Thermophila furnorum.
Photographed by: Stewart Woods. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Anderson, South Carolina, USA. Date: 8 October, 2018.
Silverfish
Silverfish, order Zygentoma.
□ Apparently the “fish” comes from one of two things: either the teardrop shape of the body, which is kind of like some fish; or the wiggly way they move.
Photographed by: Meem Sarkar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Siliguri, India. Date: 15 September, 2017.
Meem says, “I searched more info about it and found that these insects eat books, and the place where I took the photo of it is just beside my stack of books.”
Firebrat, Zygentoma
Firebrat, order Zygentoma.
□ Firebrats are generally banded or sometimes mottled with small dark spots (like this one). See the photographer’s comment below.
Photographed and identified by: Arjan Hasani. Location: Copenhagen, Denmark. Date: 31 May, 2019.
Arjan says, “I identified it through your website. Awesome!” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Nicely done, Arjan!”
Silverfish
Silverfish, order Zygentoma.
□ The photographer says he has found Silverfish in both England and Panama, always in the bathroom. That is a favorite spot for these quick little insects!
Photographed by: Lee Koupal. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Panama. Date: 17 October, 2019.
Lee says, “They are extremely fast. But this one had no where to go as it made its way to the shower and I aced a glass over it.”
Silverfish
Silverfish, order Zygentoma.
Photographed and identified by: Anonymous. Location: Piedmont, North Carolina, USA. Date: 4 October, 2020.
Add your photo here!


HomeWho We Are List of Orders References Contact Us

Unless noted otherwise, photographs on this website are the property of the photographers and may not be reused without written permission from the photographers. To obtain permission, request it here.

Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Reproduction of material from any KnowYourInsects.org webpages without written permission is strictly prohibited.