Bristletails are members of two very different groupss – jumping or non-jumping. There are at least 500 species of the jumping category while 450 species of non-jumping are found globally with 35 jumpers and 30 non-jumpers, of these residing in North America. The more common of these species is the Silverfish with its noticeable antenna, compound eyes (not all species) and filament-like appendages on the back end. This group has extremely flexible bodies allowing them to access the shallowest spaces in nearly any home. They gladly eat both human food sources and paper material. They are generally found in old books as they also eat the glue within. Other food types include starch-based sources like silks and linens. They also seem to taste for synthetic man-made fibers. This order reproduces through male and female interaction.
Jumping Bristletails come from the order Microcoryphai (“Archaeognatha” worldwide) and, as their name suggests, quickly migrate from one location to another. The primary nutrition sources are outdoors like algae and plant life and their activity takes place mostly at night. Jumping Bristletails navigate with large compound eyes and long antennae. Their abdomens are multi-sectioned and work like a springboard for their jumping technique. Maturity is reached via molting. Larva emerge from eggs and have many characteristics of adult insects.
Silverfish and Firebrats are grouped together under the order Thysanura (“Zygentoma” worldwide). These species cannot fly or jump but are very quick and highly flexible and can be found indoors or out. Their activities take place at night when they are active to feed. Maturity is reached through the process of multiple molting stages and, is directly affected by the surrounding environment, nearby populations and the health of the specimen in question.