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common name for primitive, wingless insectsinsect,
invertebrate animal of the class Insecta of the phylum Arthropoda. Like other arthropods, an insect has a hard outer covering, or exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed legs. Adult insects typically have wings and are the only flying invertebrates.
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 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 ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, class Insecta, order Thysanura, family Lepismatidae.



(Lepisma saccharinum), a wingless insect of the subclass Apterygota of the order Thysanura. The narrow body reaches 11 mm in length. It has three long caudal bristles and is covered with fine silvery scales after the third molting. Silverfish reach sexual maturity after ten moltings; development from the egg to adult takes about three years. Adults are able to molt as well. Silverfish are thermophile but can be found everywhere. The insects prefer moist and dark places. They are nocturnal. Silverfish inhabit houses, food storehouses, stores, mills, libraries, and other places. They can infest sugar, bread, flour, groats, paper, wallpaper, and leather.


(invertebrate zoology)
Any of over 350 species of insects of the order Thysanura; they are small, wingless forms with biting mouthparts.


1. a silver variety of the goldfish Carassius auratus
2. any of various other silvery fishes, such as the moonfish Monodactylus argenteus
3. any of various small primitive wingless insects of the genus Lepisma, esp L. saccharina, that have long antennae and tail appendages and occur in buildings, feeding on food scraps, bookbindings, etc.: order Thysanura (bristletails)