This blog provides an informal forum for terrestrial invertebrate watchers to post recent sightings of interesting observations in the southern Vancouver Island region. Please send your sightings by email to Jeremy Tatum ( Be sure to include your name, phone number, the species name (common or scientific) of the invertebrate you saw, location, date, and number of individuals. If you have a photograph you are willing to share, please send it along. Click on the title above for an index of past sightings.The index is updated most days.

November 30

2018 November 30


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  No butterflies these days, so I am reduced to photographing  the firebrats that share my apartment building with me in Saanich.  Like many other organisms, the firebrats and silverfish have been subject to various changes in taxonomic classification.  They used to be in the Order Thysanura (Three-pronged Bristletails – “Thysanura” is Greek for “bristletail”) of the Class Insecta.   However, several Orders within the former Class Insecta have been moved to a new Class, Entognatha.  Further, the entognathan Order Thysanura has been replaced by two separate Orders – Zygentoma and Archaeognatha.  The present classification of firebrats and silverfish is, I believe:

Phylum Arthropoda

  Subphylum Hexapoda

    Class Entognatha

        Order Zygentoma

           Family Lepismatidae


   The best-known insects entognaths in the large Family Lepismatidae are the Firebrat Thermobia domestica and the Silverfish Lepisma saccharina – although I have never yet seen the Silverfish in Victoria.  The Firebrat is a common commensal in my apartment building.  The animal shown here is neither the Firebrat nor the Silverfish, but is Ctenolepisma longicaudata, rather less common in my building than Thermobia domestica.  As for an English name, Grey Firebrat or Grey Silverfish are used – though I think the former would be more accurate.  The true Silverfish likes cold, damp places.  The firebrats like it warm and dry.


Ctenolepisma longicaudata (Zygentoma:  Lepismatidae)  Jeremy Tatum