Miscellaneous Insects and other Arthropods

Silverfish (Lepisma saccharinum)

Silverfish are primitive (possibly originating more than 400 million years ago), wingless insect, belonging to the order Zygentoma, part of the class Insecta.

They are nocturnal, living in houses, frequenting damp places, such as the bathroom or kitchen. They feed on sugar and starch,  found in such things as paper, book bindings, soap residues and dust, and can be quite destructive. They can live for up to a year without food as long as water is available.

The Silverfish has a wingless tapering silvery body, 13 – 25mm long, long antennae and three tail bristles, comprising of 2 cerci and a central terminal filament. It is covered in silvery scales. They live for up to 3 years.

Lacewing (family Chrysopidae)

Lacewings belong to the order Neuroptera, part of the class Insecta; there are several families of Lacewings within the Neuroptera, the green ones belonging to the Chrysopidae family. There are 18 species of green lacewings in the UK, some of them quite difficult to identify to species.They are mostly nocturnal, widespread in woods and meadows.

They are 10 – 15mm long, with long antennae and 4 transparent wings.

The larvae and adults feed mostly on aphids, but also insect eggs, caterpillars and scale insects; one adult may eat up to 200 aphids in a week, so they are welcome vistors to gardens, and are sometimes used as a biological control. The larvae feed by piercing their pray with their elongated mandibles and sucking out the internal contents.

They lay their eggs on a thread of hardened mucus attached to a leaf, so they are suspended in the air. Adults will hibernate over winter, often in buildings.