Actual Size: ½ to ¾”

Characteristics:  Flat body that is metallic gray and covered in dull silvery scales.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Tails: 3

Habitat: Thrives in moist and humid areas. Most frequently found in basements, bathrooms, and near leaking plumbing fixtures.


  • Also commonly called “firebrats”.
  • Moves in a quick fish-like manner, hence their names.
  • Often consumes clothing, paper, and wallpaper products.

Silverfish in Memphis TN Metro Area

Silverfish and firebrats possess enzymes in their digestive system that effectively break down cellulose. Consequently, they tend to inhabit bookcases, closets, and areas abundant in books, clothing, starch, or dry food items. Both silverfish and firebrats are adept at swift locomotion, and they exhibit remarkable agility by moving sideways or even leaping when disturbed. Due to their flattened bodies, these insects can seek shelter in minuscule fissures and crevices, including narrow spaces within book bindings, loose pages of books, and corrugated cardboard.

Silverfish Habitat

Silverfish have a diet that encompasses both carbohydrates and proteins, and they even display cannibalistic tendencies by consuming the shed exoskeletons of deceased or injured individuals. As creatures of the night, they rely on humidity for survival and will seek refuge during the day in areas with elevated moisture levels, such as laundry rooms, underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks, and within crawl spaces. Paper serves as a primary target for silverfish, particularly paper products with a glossy surface. They exhibit a particular fondness for the sizing agents found in paper, which can include substances like starch, dextrin, casein, gum, and glue.

Silverfish Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Silverfish lack wings and, rather than relying on flight for locomotion, they exhibit a remarkably swift and agile movement reminiscent of fish. When disturbed by the displacement of the object beneath which they are hiding, they swiftly dart towards another concealed location. While silverfish do not possess biting or stinging capabilities, they can inflict significant harm upon personal belongings and food sources. Due to their feeble jaws, silverfish tend to scrape rather than bite, resulting in fabric and clothing becoming riddled with holes, and books, paper products, and wallpaper showing signs of discoloration. Additionally, silverfish have the potential to contaminate dry food items such as cereals, flour, pasta, and pet food. If your Memphis TN Metro Area property is experiencing an excessive silverfish infestation, it is advisable to seek assistance from local exterminators.