silverfish

(redirected from firebrat)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

silverfish

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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Silverfish

 

(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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

silverfish

[′sil·vər‚fish]
(invertebrate zoology)
Any of over 350 species of insects of the order Thysanura; they are small, wingless forms with biting mouthparts.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

silverfish

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)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The Firebrat has all the density of a Russian novel, and there is more than a hint of Chekhov in the story of the narrator's ancestral home, Skylands (great name!), which is being razed for development.
But in the novel's alternate universe, small things are unexpectedly magnified, like the "firebrats"--small, primitive insects that Elliot raises and studies through a microscope--of the book's title.