Thursday, July 2, 2020

New Bristletails & a Silverfish Update!

These past couple days I've been out looking for bugs out in the old field behind my housing development, and I found two individuals of an archaic insect order which I hope to breed, the somewhat obscure bristletails! 😁
Bristletails are a primitive type of insect in the order Archaeognatha, (alternatively known as Microcoryphia), they are relatively poorly known and poorly studied, and honestly a lot of people who see them may just mistake them for silverfish at a glance. However, unlike silverfish, bristletails can actually jump using their elongate tails in a fashion similar to springtails, which is why some people call them "jumping bristletails". 😄

Also, very interestingly, and I literally just learned this, but apparently bristletails are unique among insects in that they continue to molt past adulthood, and tend to mate and breed once every instar afterwards. 😮 Some species may have a lifespan up to four years, though apparently two of those may be spent as nymphs, (all depending on the species, temps, food availability, etc.). Overall they are quite interesting little creatures, and I hope to be able to keep and breed them successfully, if only to help further their presence in the hobby, which has been essentially nonexistent thus far. 😅

Now, since they are poorly studied, going about and finding an ID can be very tricky... I've determined the species I am currently working with is something in the family Meinertellidae, but that's about it. So far I have found two out in the field next to a dead locust tree, under bark pieces that had fallen onto the dead grass besides it. Would be nice if they were a pair, but I'll keep looking for more nonetheless.
In the past, I have found what I believe was this exact same species, back when I went camping in 2014, in a similar scrubland habitat. I remember catching a bunch and then throwing them in with some Eleodes I kept back then, however they did not last long at all, whether it was because of being kept with the Eleodes, or because my setup for them was incorrect overall, I do not know.

I am keeping mine in a small deli cup with a cm of sandy, clay based substrate from where I collected them, (sterilized of course), with some old cork board pieces and a piece of bark for hides. I'll be keeping half the enclosure humid, the other half dry, and will offer chick feed, artificial pollen, oats and fruits for food. They are supposedly detritivores, so I hope they won't be too picky.

Here are some pictures of one, much like silverfish they are covered in fine scales, which make it hard for my camera to focus on them, this is the best I could do:

Definitely an interesting order of insects, I hope I can breed these successfully and maybe get more people interested in these odd critters! 😊

As for my silverfish, Lepisma saccharina, I actually found babies in their enclosure last week! 😃 Unfortunately though it seems several of said babies have died due to mold outbreaks in the enclosure, which have been running rampant for the entirety of my time keeping these things... 😐 I recently added some springtails and oribatid mites to their enclosure, which will hopefully start breeding soon and keep the dang mold in check... But at least the adults are doing well, and I have no doubt they'll keep on breeding for me, with the rest of their offspring hopefully being easy to rear when the enclosure isn't consumed by mold... 🙃

Anyways, that's it for this post, I hope you all enjoyed, thanks for reading, stay safe, and I'll see everyone next time! 😉


  1. Replies
    1. Huh, I didn't know that, thanks for the info! 😄

  2. Ever have any luck tearing the Archaegnatha?

    1. Unfortunately not, I kept them alive for a month or two, but never got offspring. 😔