Superkingdom Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Superclass Hexapoda
Class Entognatha
Order Thysanura

Common name: Silverfish, Zygentoma

Description: Medium in size, dorso-ventrally flattened, silvery-scaled, wingless, hypognathous to prognathous mouthparts, small compound eyes widely separated or absent, some abdominal segments with ventral styles, with three "tails" - paired cerci nearly as long as the medial caudal appendage; the immature insect resembles a small adult.

Fun facts: There are some 370 species in four existing families. Fertilization is indirect. Many silverfish live in litter or under bark, some are subterranean, but some can tolerate the low humidity and high temperatures of arid areas: for example, there are some desert-living silverfish in the sand dunes of the Nambid Desert in s.w. Africa. Several species are familiar to humans, as they live in human dwellings. These include L. saccharuna, Ctenolepisma longicauda (silverfish), Lepismodes inquilinus (the firebrat), which eat materials such as paper, cotton and plant debris, using their own cellulase to digest the cellulose.

sourced, in part, by The Insects: An outline of entomology, second ed. Gullan, P.J. and P.S. Cranston. Blackwell Science, Great Britain, 2000.

Thys`a*nu"ra (?), n. pl. [NL., fr. Gr. fringe + tail.] Zool.

An order of wingless hexapod insects which have setiform caudal appendages, either bent beneath the body to form a spring, or projecting as bristles. It comprises the Cinura, or bristletails, and the Collembola, or springtails. Called also Thysanoura. See Lepisma, and Podura.


© Webster 1913.

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