What Do Silverfish Look Like?

A quick guide to silverfish identification with pictures of silverfish

It can be difficult to identify silverfish for a couple of reasons. First, they are nocturnal and very fast. Silverfish love to hide under books and other objects. When uncovered, they quickly scurry to another hiding spot, otherwise only exposing themselves to humans at night when they come out to feed. Second, silverfish are often confused with firebrats, an almost identical-looking insect. So what does a silverfish look like? This checklist and the accompanying silverfish pictures will tell you everything you need to know.

What do silverfish look like?

Silverfish are pearl gray and shiny, giving them a silver appearance. They are slender insects, whose bodies taper from their rounded head to their pointed abdomen. As you can see in Figure 1 of the silverfish pictures, their bodies almost resemble a segmented, silver carrot. At the tail end of their abdomen, silverfish have three tail-like appendages that resemble their two front antennae. These five appendages are all about as long as the silverfish’s soft, wingless body. These insects typically grow between one-half and three-quarters of an inch in length, with their young appearing identical to the adults, only smaller (about one-quarter inch).

Is there any other way to identify silverfish?

Even though they aren’t fish, most silverfish (all except nymphs under one-eighth of an inch long) have scales. These scales can be seen in the accompanying pictures of silverfish, in Figure 2. Scales are delicate and break off anywhere silverfish are active. They are partially incandescent and will stick to almost any surface, so finding these secondary indicators can easily alert you to a silverfish problem.

Now that you can identify silverfish, the next step is getting rid of them. Call Terminix® today for your free pest estimate and don’t let these silver insects strike gold in your home.