silverfish

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sil·ver·fish / ˈsilvərˌfish/ • n. (pl. same or -fishes) 1. a chiefly nocturnal silvery bristletail (Lepisma saccharina, family Lepismatidae) that frequents houses and other buildings, feeding on starchy materials. 2. a silver-colored fish, esp. a goldfish of an unpigmented variety.

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silverfish, common name for primitive, wingless insects of the family Lepismatidae. The silverfish, which has two long antennae and three long tail bristles, is named for its covering of tiny, silvery scales. It develops directly in six or more molts into an adult about 1/2 in. (1.27 cm) long. It has chewing mouthparts set in a head cavity and eats starch from book bindings, wallpaper, and clothing. The silverfish is common indoors in cool, damp places such as basements. The firebrat, in the same taxonomic family, is found in warm places, e.g., near steampipes and boilers. Silverfish are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Thysanura, family Lepismatidae.

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silverfish (subclass Apterygota, order Thysanura) Common name for members of the family Lepismatidae; it is sometimes used to denote any member of the Thysanura.

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silverfish (bristletail) Primitive, grey, wingless insect found throughout the world. It lives in cool, damp places, feeding on starchy materials such as food scraps and paper. It gets its name from the silvery scales that cover its body. Length: 13mm (0.5in). Family Lepismatidae; species Lepisma saccharina.