Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The typical genus of Lepismatidæ, having three long and four short caudal filaments, very long antennæ, and the body flat and scaly. Several species of these bristletails occur about houses in warm or damp places, where they may be seen running swiftly wheu disturbed. In their movements and general habits they resemble cockroaches. L. saccharina is a common household pest in Europe and America, in damp, close rooms. L. domestica, the fishtail, is another household pest. L. quadriseriata is commonly observed on the walls of out-houses. In the United States these insects are commonly called fishtail, silvertail, and silverfish. They are fond of the glazed figures in wall-paper, of photographs, the paste of book-bindings, etc., and also injure silks and silk tapestries. They are most abundant where it is a little damp.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) A genus of wingless thysanurous insects having an elongated flattened body, covered with shining scales and terminated by seven unequal bristles. A common species (Lepisma saccharina) is found in houses, and often injures books and furniture; it feeds on starch and eats sized paper and starched clothes. Called also
shiner, silverfish, silver witch, silver moth, and furniture bug.
- n. type genus of the Lepismatidae: silverfish
“Both are very old and stained and bitten by the _bête-à-ciseau_, a species of _lepisma_, which destroys books and papers, and everything it can find exposed.”
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