Continuing our series on pests, we are now turning our attention to the silverfish.  These are often found lurking in the corners of the Fitzwilliam Museum, and, if left undisturbed, they can cause significant damage to a lot of our collections.

Conversation with…a silverfish

You’re not in water…

True.  Can you see why I would be called a silverfish though?

I can see you are silver, and you look scaly like a fish and I suppose you move a bit like a fish.

Exactly.  If you want to be formal, my full name is Lepisma saccharina. 

So, you don’t like being in water then?

No, but you’ll usually find me in areas which are damp, such as basements, bathrooms, kitchens – this is where I can thrive.

If you don’t like swimming, do you like any other sports?

I can run pretty fast when needed.

Lying on my back – check out my legs! Great for running.

What about museums?

Yes, I feel very at home in some museums.  I can stay in some museums for years – there’s so much to take in and they have everything I need.

What’s your favourite food?

Not gonna lie, I’m a bit of a scrounger and generally scavenge for microscopic mould anywhere I can find it.

Where do you find microscopic moulds?

Paper, books, textiles.  That kind of thing.  Wallpaper paste and the glue in bookbindings are a particular guilty pleasure of mine.  Just the thought of all that starch is making me hungry.

Well, we better wrap this up then.  Just one more question, should I be worried if I find silverfish in my house?

As you can tell from my previous answer, we eat a lot of stuff that you might have in your house, so I would keep an eye out.  We can cause a lot of damage when we are hungry.

Also, if there is a lot of us, it is probably a sign of high humidity.  Might be worth checking you haven’t got a leak or damp problem, just in case.