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Can someone please help identify this insect?

 
 
zBernie
 
Reply Mon 23 Sep, 2013 07:59 pm
I have seen several of these insects on the bathroom floor near the bathtub, over the past two months. They are very tiny, as small as a fine speck of ground black pepper. They look like a tiny black spec of dust, barely visible. They do in fact appear black under a magnifying glass. The four photos at the Flickr link below are all the same bug. I captured it live by blowing my warm breath on a wad of toilet paper, then gently swiped it up. I then photographed it with my iPhone 4s. Then I tried different effects in photoshop to try and enhance the image.

They look a little bit like lice, but not quite. I live in the northeastern U.S., about 20 miles NE of Philadelphia, if that helps.

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjJDrZE2
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Type: Question • Score: 2 • Views: 1,213 • Replies: 5
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Sep, 2013 05:10 am
@zBernie,
I would need more detail in the photo in order to identify it. However, the first impression that came to mind was a baby House Centipede or possibly a Silverfish, but the scale is wrong.

House Centipedes are normally around an inch long, not "dust speck" sized. I don't know how big they are when they are born. Silverfish are smaller, but still not that small, and again, I don't know how large the babies are.

Normally at small scales like this you're talking about some type of Mite. But Mites usually have a more roundish body plan, whereas these seem to be elongated.

One thing that would help is to know how many legs they have. If it's eight, then I would say it's some type of Mite. If it's more than that, then some type of centipede.

Silverfish like humid environments with exposed saturated sheetrock (common in bath tubs), they eat the paper and glue from the back of the sheetrock.

spendius
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 24 Sep, 2013 05:30 am
@rosborne979,
Quote:
I would need more detail in the photo in order to identify it.


Wouldn't we all? However--

Quote:
However, the first impression that came to mind was a baby House Centipede or possibly a Silverfish, but the scale is wrong.


That's a neat thing to say. It conveys the impression that ros is up to speed on baby House Centipedes and, possibly, Silverfish and that it isn't either of those because the scale is wrong. Do mature alpha males in the USA actually get away with expressing such thoughts in public?

What's "sheetrock"? I've never heard of that before and I'm not at all that sure I wish to.

Whatever it is it has the look of a female.
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timur
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Sep, 2013 05:40 am
@rosborne979,
We sure need a better picture.

It could be a silverfish.

However, the outline is more of a termite:

http://villagewiki.pbworks.com/f/Termite.jpg
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Sep, 2013 06:03 am
@zBernie,
Introduce Arctic conditions into your bathroom for a few days. They will probably go next door. They can be very fecund in warm and moist conditions.
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Sep, 2013 07:27 am
@timur,
timur wrote:
We sure need a better picture.

Yes. And a count on the number of legs would tell us what subphyla or class we're dealing with (of course, a detailed photo would reveal that info as well) Wink
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