2019 March 5
Jeremy Tatum writes: As this cold weather continues, I am still reduced to photographing firebrats and similar indoor invertebrates in my apartment building. We have two species of firebrat in the building – the common Thermobia domestica and the less common Ctenolepisma longicaudata, and I’m not 100 percent certain which this one is. T.domestica usually has a well-defined brown mottled pattern (see February 19), while C. longicaudata is usually fairly uniformly grey. To the unaided eye, this one looked grey, but the photograph shows it to have quite a lot of mottling. However, I think it has the long abdomen typical of longicaudata, rather than the stubby domestica abdomen, so I think it is Ctenolepisma longicaudata. I suppose there might be the possibiliy of hybridization, or of a different species, but that’s just idle speculation.
The ever-busy taxonomists have been hard at work on these animals. On this site I have been listing them in the Order Thysanura (three-pronged bristletails), but some authors are now calling the Order Zygentoma, and some seem not to be certain as to what Class to put them in.
Probably Ctenolepisma longicaudata (Thy.: Lepismatidae) Jeremy Tatum