Silverfish Solutions: How to Identify and Control Different Types of Silverfish

Exploring Different Types of Silverfish

Silverfish are small, wingless insects known for their silvery appearance and fish-like movements. They belong to the order Thysanura and are commonly found in homes, especially in damp and dark areas. While silverfish share similar characteristics, there are different species that vary in size, color, and habitat. In this article, we will explore some of the different types of silverfish.

1. Common Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina)

The common silverfish is the most well-known and widespread species. It has a slender, carrot-shaped body, covered in shiny silver scales. Common silverfish are typically around 0.5 to 1 inch (12 to 25 mm) long. They are nocturnal insects that prefer humid environments and feed on starchy materials like paper, glue, and fabrics.

2. Gray Silverfish (Ctenolepisma longicaudatum)

The gray silverfish is a close relative of the common silverfish and shares many similarities in appearance and behavior. However, it is slightly larger, reaching lengths of up to 1.25 inches (32 mm). Gray silverfish are grayish-brown in color and have longer antennae compared to the common silverfish.

3. Firebrat (Thermobia domestica)

Firebrats are similar in appearance to silverfish, but they have a mottled gray or brown coloration with dark patches. They are slightly smaller than common silverfish, measuring around 0.25 to 0.5 inches (6 to 12 mm) in length. Firebrats prefer higher temperatures and are often found in warm areas such as boiler rooms or near heating systems. They feed on starchy materials and are capable of causing damage to books, wallpaper, and other household items.

4. Four-lined Silverfish (Ctenolepisma quadriseriata)

Four-lined silverfish have a distinctive appearance with four dark lines running along their bodies, hence their name. They are similar in size to common silverfish, measuring around 0.5 to 1 inch (12 to 25 mm) long. Four-lined silverfish prefer cooler and more humid environments, such as basements or crawl spaces, and feed on carbohydrates found in books, paper, and textiles.

5. Tropical Silverfish (Ctenolepisma tenuicaudata)

As the name suggests, the tropical silverfish is commonly found in warmer regions. It has a slender body and is usually light brown in color. Tropical silverfish measure around 0.4 to 0.6 inches (10 to 15 mm) in length. They are known to infest pantries, feeding on food items like flour, cereals, and dried fruits.


Silverfish, while similar in behavior and appearance, encompass various species with slight variations in size, color, and preferred habitats. Understanding the different types of silverfish can help in identifying and implementing effective pest control measures. If you encounter silverfish infestations in your home, it is advisable to consult a professional pest control service to address the issue and minimize any potential damage caused by these insects.