Did you know that there's a 400-million-year-old insect likely in your gaff right now? Not some creature from Jurassic Park, mind, it's a little more benign than that. See them wee things you sometimes catch scurrying around the bathroom? The almost see-through little skites?
Turns out the proper name for them is "silverfish", which is absolute news to me. And they're literally hundreds of millions of years old, which is even more surprising. Like they've been around longer than almost every other animal on Earth, and are several hundred million years older than dinosaurs.
According to Rentokil (who, let's face it, would know), "Silverfish (and firebrats) are believed to be one of the most primitive of living insect orders in the world."
"They are carrot shape in profile and possess long tail-like appendages from the tip of their abdomen and their bodies are nearly always covered in scales (almost like plate armor)."
The reason they love humans so much is obvious: we're tasty and we love tasty things. "Silverfish consume a wide range of food types e.g. oats, beef, paper, textiles etc. They are long-lived and can live up to about three years and possibly even longer.
"Some species can also survive long periods of starvation e.g. one individual has been recorded surviving as long as 300 days without feeding. They require damp and humid conditions and thrive in kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and other dark, isolated areas."
"Fixing leaks in pipework, improving ventilation, and using dehumidifiers can help discourage silverfish. They can be found in a variety of common items in households and businesses such as books, wallpaper, paintings, fabrics, carpets, coffee, sugar, pasta, and other food debris."
"In small numbers, silverfish are not really a problem and you can easily get rid of them, but a large infestation can be a serious issue for your home or business."
Now you know their amazing origin story, you can tip your cap to them as you see one go by. Then crush it, because they're still really, really gross.
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