Firebrats and Silverfish Are Rocking Some Old-School Looks | Deep Look

Wissenschaft & Technik

What *is* that bizarre fishlike thing squirming in your sink at night? Firebrats and silverfish are pretty darn similar to some of the earliest insects on Earth. With three long filaments poking out their back, no wings and mini-me babies, they have something to teach us about survival.
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Look closely at the firebrat munching on cereal in your kitchen or getting cozy in a pile of newspapers. You’ll see traits some of the earliest insects had around 400 million years ago.
Take its three tail-looking filaments. The two outer ones are called cerci. They work like antennae, detecting chemicals and predators like house centipedes.
Other insects, like cockroaches, have a short pair of cerci. But very few insects have the middle filament that firebrats and silverfish possess. Called the median caudal filament, it has tiny hairs that can detect the faintest air currents.
--- What do firebrats eat?
Cereal, spices and books - both the pages and the glue in the binding. Only a handful of the 500 to 600 species of firebrats and silverfish live with us. In nature, they feed on leaves, stems, needles and bark.
“And they will also eat, well, each other,” said entomologist Art Appel from Auburn University.
--- Are firebrats dangerous?
No, they don’t bite or sting.
--- What is the difference between silverfish and firebrats?
Silverfish generally prefer cooler parts of the house, while firebrats are drawn to warmer corners, like a water heater - hence their name.
--- Does evolution have a goal?
When you look at a firebrat, with its ancient traits, you might wonder why it hasn’t changed to be more like other insects. For example, when insects developed wings around 325 million years ago this led to an explosion in insect diversity. So why did firebrats remain wingless, like the earliest insects?
“When we see a creature that looks pretty similar to things that were probably living 400 million years ago, we think, ‘Why isn’t that creature doing a better job of being modern?’” said Sandra Schachat, a doctoral student who researches insect evolution at Stanford University. “But the way that evolution works is that it doesn't really have an optimum that things are being driven towards. You don’t need to be the most abundant species in your habitat in order to survive. You only need to be abundant enough that you can maintain some kind of population over time.”
---+ Find additional resources and a transcript on KQED Science:
www.kqed.org/science/1972757/firebrats-and-silverfish-are-rocking-some-old-school-looks
---+ More Deep Look episodes:
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🏆Congratulations🏆 to these 5 fans on our Community Tab who identified what gives the firebrats and silverfish the ability to digest cellulose - special enzymes!
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The Steel City Storm
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KOMMENTARE

  • Rizkyahmad17 :D
    Rizkyahmad17 :DVor Tag

    Silverfish Minecraft player: *that name is familiar*

  • Super Abiyu
    Super AbiyuVor 5 Tage

    I'm surprised these creatures haven't gotten extinct yet with the amount of spanners broken everyday ! Lol

  • Johnny Joestar
    Johnny JoestarVor 5 Tage

    Who's getting paranoid about their shelf of books?

  • InsaneFirebat
    InsaneFirebatVor 5 Tage

    Firewhat?

  • Fauzy Sukhron
    Fauzy SukhronVor 7 Tage

    who would see them as fish? they clearly an lobster

  • Tanya Marquez
    Tanya MarquezVor 7 Tage

    They’re so cute 🥰

  • Jake M
    Jake MVor 7 Tage

    2:10 Grasshoppers, praying mantises, cockroaches, bedbugs. It's not that rare.

  • nymphcat
    nymphcatVor 7 Tage

    I love firebrats...they're so cute

  • A Sobble With Internet Access
    A Sobble With Internet AccessVor 8 Tage

    I love to shoot these with my nerf gun when they wander into my bathtub

  • A Sobble With Internet Access
    A Sobble With Internet AccessVor 8 Tage

    they love my tissue boxes

  • Joseph Kim
    Joseph KimVor 8 Tage

    How can firebrats climb when its a 100 straight wall,and they can get out on like a curved bowl or sink?????????

  • Richest Man In Tatooine
    Richest Man In TatooineVor 9 Tage

    aka DESTROYER OF COMICS

  • ArchangelExile
    ArchangelExileVor 10 Tage

    Interesting... 🤔

  • Deebies Channel
    Deebies ChannelVor 10 Tage

    They creep me out so much for some reason

  • lekiscool
    lekiscoolVor 10 Tage

    HI LAURA ITS LAURA.

  • AndrewKidd14145
    AndrewKidd14145Vor 12 Tage

    I’ve always wanted to find one in the wild. Very difficult.

  • Chicken_Strips
    Chicken_StripsVor 12 Tage

    When I saw that house centipede I like freaked out- COULD THAT BE IN MY HOUSE?!

  • kenya wolf
    kenya wolfVor 13 Tage

    they cute lol

  • rita
    ritaVor 14 Tage

    "hiding in your walls" WHA

  • Alyssa Dillon
    Alyssa DillonVor 14 Tage

    I wonder how many people just learned that silver fish aren’t just a Minecraft thing, I remember the Instagram (or it may have been tumblr) post about someone learning that silver fish are real it was super funny.

  • Joshua Hall
    Joshua HallVor 15 Tage

    I feel so good that I haven't seen any of these for years I literally keep tarantulas as a pet and have more that 300 arachnids in total but I am scared of these lol

  • Rocco B.
    Rocco B.Vor 15 Tage

    I actually want to hold these guys.

  • Humayune Gaznfar
    Humayune GaznfarVor 15 Tage

    Can i keep only one

  • Cyan
    CyanVor 15 Tage

    Ah yes a new excuse for my homework "The firebrats eat my home work!"

  • Bjc
    BjcVor 15 Tage

    Just like Watop, so interesting

  • Its Murkz
    Its MurkzVor 16 Tage

    Anybody else itchy rn?

  • Itz Mooo Tho
    Itz Mooo ThoVor 16 Tage

    0:21, we finna see if it swims like one.

  • Mr. Ditkovich
    Mr. DitkovichVor 16 Tage

    I keep killing this insect almost everyday

  • KCJbomberFTW
    KCJbomberFTWVor 16 Tage

    Shaped Like a FISH??

  • [COA] ijet7
    [COA] ijet7Vor 16 Tage

    Silverfish

  • Samad Hoosen
    Samad HoosenVor 16 Tage

    Fiber rats

  • ItsFishies
    ItsFishiesVor 16 Tage

    Why are they kind of cute

  • zashbot
    zashbotVor 17 Tage

    If you’ve ever tried to mine out your ender portal you know all about these guys

  • Daisy Chill lol
    Daisy Chill lolVor 17 Tage

    U mean a cricket

  • Otakushipper109 RL
    Otakushipper109 RLVor 17 Tage

    So silver fish don’t randomly spawn at night

  • Jess Reinhardt
    Jess ReinhardtVor 17 Tage

    I love them

  • imaboi
    imaboiVor 17 Tage

    Idk which is more disgusting a silverfish or a cockroach I would say both

  • ojosmorenas
    ojosmorenasVor 17 Tage

    1:48 why must you *traumatize* me in this way

  • buttermilk.
    buttermilk.Vor 17 Tage

    silverfish... *minecraft war flashbacks.*

  • Ratna Sekar
    Ratna SekarVor 17 Tage

    I remembered this thing almost got inside my ears.. Never sleep without plug in my ears after this

  • Pedro Tecla
    Pedro TeclaVor 17 Tage

    The little noises are a bit too much lol

  • OreoWinx
    OreoWinxVor 17 Tage

    Bruh

  • Mr.Clumsy
    Mr.ClumsyVor 18 Tage

    Creation of Awesome God!

  • Pofferfosh Gaming
    Pofferfosh GamingVor 19 Tage

    Is it weird that I find firebrats cute?

  • Zalgo
    ZalgoVor 19 Tage

    you wot? reply when u see it

  • Utsukushii Yume
    Utsukushii YumeVor 19 Tage

    "You- Wot"

  • paradoxal mess
    paradoxal messVor 19 Tage

    awhhh they're so cute! my mom would kill me if i kept them tho

  • osmacar
    osmacarVor 20 Tage

    Figure out the enzyme sequence...

  • RoseWater 22
    RoseWater 22Vor 20 Tage

    Leave my books alone you brats!

  • Derek Keenan
    Derek KeenanVor 21 Tag

    *KILL IT*

  • Dario Apolloni
    Dario ApolloniVor 21 Tag

    I ve always found them cute for some reason

  • Jitt-Jesus ,
    Jitt-Jesus ,Vor 21 Tag

    Had a silverbug in my bathroom once when I was like 5 , I didnt want to take a bath without underwear on for a year

  • Максим Фокин
    Максим ФокинVor 21 Tag

    If i opened that book id be like : “motherf.....”

  • Максим Фокин
    Максим ФокинVor 21 Tag

    Eeww disgusting *click*☑️

  • YoutubeAmaze
    YoutubeAmazeVor 21 Tag

    You._wot

  • Bao Nguyen
    Bao NguyenVor 21 Tag

    I just wash them down the drain of the bathtub or let my cat eat them

  • HQ Very Lucky
    HQ Very LuckyVor 21 Tag

    3:37 *you wot*?

  • uninterestingly funny
    uninterestingly funnyVor 22 Tage

    I Saw a silverfish the size of a Hotwheels today

  • I’m already Sans Undertale
    I’m already Sans UndertaleVor 22 Tage

    3:37 you Wot

  • ok
    okVor 23 Tage

    I’m going to employ these to assassinate my homework

  • starfy uwu
    starfy uwuVor 23 Tage

    i want to oet him

  • MrrSnowxman
    MrrSnowxmanVor 23 Tage

    Dont tell me they are in my CEREAL. 🥲

  • Henchman
    HenchmanVor 24 Tage

    tierzoo has thought me, and i see it here, this silverfish is just harnesting evolution points for something big, im scared also, really nice video

  • 28 hyper
    28 hyperVor 24 Tage

    POV: u clicked on this bc of Minecraft silverfish

  • Cat Line
    Cat LineVor 24 Tage

    And they also protect the end portal!

  • Al. C.
    Al. C.Vor 24 Tage

    This video was so disturbing to watch i felt my skin crawl

  • xyoux 800
    xyoux 800Vor 24 Tage

    POV: your can't stop watching videos from this channel

  • ALison
    ALisonVor 24 Tage

    now i feel bad for smashing them between books

  • mYsTiCaL oR sOmEtHiNg
    mYsTiCaL oR sOmEtHiNgVor 24 Tage

    Minecraft fans : hears silverfish Also minecraft fan : THATS why i cant beat the enderdragon

  • Deneb
    DenebVor 26 Tage

    Minecraft?

  • ItsAquaPlays
    ItsAquaPlaysVor 26 Tage

    I was so scared when i saw the caterpillar so close

  • tanadawg
    tanadawgVor 28 Tage

    Lol the page said "you wot"

  • Runar Saolrin
    Runar SaolrinVor 28 Tage

    I always thought silverfish were only some made up minecraft mob.

  • シ9tobeᑕOᑎTIᑎᑌᗴ
    シ9tobeᑕOᑎTIᑎᑌᗴVor 29 Tage

    3:54 They don’t bite or sting Silverfish in Minecraft bites.. Is there an explanation to this?

  • Slender Man
    Slender ManVor 29 Tage

    3:37 got a little English in here..

  • Bart Lee
    Bart LeeVor 29 Tage

    they look cute up close

  • Abdo-Pedia ll عبدو-بيديا
    Abdo-Pedia ll عبدو-بيدياVor Monat

    They are so fragile and you may find a golden or silver print if you touch them...

  • jordandino417
    jordandino417Vor Monat

    I only knew silverfish from Minecraft 😅

  • Baby Turd
    Baby TurdVor Monat

    I only know that silverfish exist because of Minecraft.

  • francheska
    francheskaVor Monat

    Ohhh

  • GEORGE CASTIL
    GEORGE CASTILVor Monat

    MINECRAFT SILVER FISH WOOOO

  • VOdOxGaMiNg GL
    VOdOxGaMiNg GLVor Monat

    They are quite cute

  • 4nrid Skills
    4nrid SkillsVor Monat

    I’m in the bathroom AND OHHHHHH YOU SCARED ME WHEN YOU SAID A LITTLE BUG IS IN MY SINK!

  • MrLovaskocsi2
    MrLovaskocsi2Vor Monat

    noice

  • M4 Media
    M4 MediaVor Monat

    Whats the tiny tiny tinnyyyy longish bug that is silver and you try and touch it and it literally seems to teleport?

  • vince reyes
    vince reyesVor Monat

    Her:silverfish Me:aaahhhh minecraft?

  • Kevin Pickford
    Kevin PickfordVor Monat

    So thats what I torched with a lighter!

  • Mike
    MikeVor Monat

    insect: Exist Me: lemme introduce... the majestic flipflop

  • mFenly
    mFenlyVor Monat

    Professor: where's your assignment? Me: The brats ate it Professor: ...I'm not joking Me: me either... Professor: ...👁️_👁️ Me:..👀

  • JDrawsShit
    JDrawsShitVor Monat

    WAIT SILVERFISH ARE REAL?!?!

  • Josh Johnson
    Josh JohnsonVor Monat

    I've loved this channel since I discovered it, maybe early last year! Insects, and animals in general, are fascinating. Even the sound fx are great. This team does a fantastic job, so nerds like me can appreciate it. However, I'm curious about referencing the living world in "millions" of years. Like, a year equivalent to 356 24 hour days....times several millions...? Where is proof that Earth and the creatures that inhabit it are that old, "millions of years," instead of maybe being a lot less *old*? A lot less!

  • i love animals
    i love animalsVor Monat

    Bruh there’s so many in my room in the summer :/

  • N K
    N KVor Monat

    0:20 How is it shaped like a fish?! It’s shaped more like a bug, to me, like just what it is!

  • Synnastyr Kuhr
    Synnastyr KuhrVor Monat

    Used to do a lot of monster creation for 1st edition D&D. Never knew firebrats when I came up with the name for a creature that was half fire elemental and half quickliing.

  • •Endie•
    •Endie•Vor Monat

    1:17 I really like how when the firebrat moved you can read "love" while the narrator also says it. Really nice touch, I also really like these videos since they are great education about different species on the earth that most of us don't even know.

  • r̸͖͝e̵̡͠d̸̯͆
    r̸͖͝e̵̡͠d̸̯͆Vor Monat

    so basically flies are just chonky mosquitoes

  • JAMINGUN 6
    JAMINGUN 6Vor Monat

    Why aren't they made out of blocks?

  • เต้ย ชาญณรงค์
    เต้ย ชาญณรงค์Vor Monat

    อยากให้มีซัพภาษาไทยจังครับ

  • Wink_0NI
    Wink_0NIVor Monat

    “Yes, mosquitoes are flies”, mmm... they aren’t but can fly

  • DarkSunshine111
    DarkSunshine111Vor Monat

    This is why I keep my grains in the fridge

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