What House Centipedes and Silverfish Look Like
One of the main reasons centipedes and silverfish are frequently confused is due to similarities in their appearances. Despite their commonalities, with a bit of careful observation, you can easily tell the difference between a centipede and a silverfish if you know what to look for.
Size and Body Shape
Centipedes are significantly larger than silverfish. Centipede bodies can be up to 1½ inches long, but silverfish bodies are usually only ½ an inch long. Both pests can appear larger due to their long antennae that can be double the size of their actual bodies. Centipedes have segmented bodies that give them a striped appearance. Silverfish have flattened bodies that appear a bit wider than the centipedes’.
Centipedes are usually yellowish brown in color and their bodies are banded vertically with darker shades of brown. Silverfish are usually pale to dark grey and can be shiny with no visible bands or stripes.
Number of Legs
Silverfish only have three sets of legs, but centipedes have many more than that. While the number of pairs of legs will vary from species to species, the common house centipede has sixteen pairs of legs, one for each of their body segments. Centipede legs are also much longer than silverfish legs.
One of the best ways to tell the difference between centipedes and silverfish is their antennae. While both species have long antennae, they have different placements. Centipedes have a pair of antennae at their head, and so do silverfish. However, silverfish also have a set of three long limbs extending from their abdomen. These appendages are not jointed and can be double the length of the silverfish’s body. These unique antennae-like limbs are also a great way to tell the difference between silverfish and cockroaches, another insect that can get confused with these pests.