Earwigs is the name given to a group of insects (called Dermaptera). They are characterized by wings they can fold under short, leather-like forewings. There are about 1800 species of earwigs. They do not seem to spread any disease, or harm humans in any way. Most of them are 10-14mm long, but some species can reach 80mm. Most earwigs are omnivores as they also eat some insect larvae.
Temporal range: Jurassic to Recent
|Common earwig, Forficula auricularia|
De Geer, 1773
All earwigs are insects. All earwigs have three body parts, head, thorax, and abdomen. Earwigs are about the same size as a peanut. Earwigs are dark brown, red, or black. Earwigs use their antennae for smelling and feeling. Their antennae are attached to their head. All earwigs look a little flat. Earwigs have thin back wings that are covered by thick forewings. They don’t fly often. Some earwigs have stripes on the thorax and abdomen. All earwigs have six hooked legs. Male earwigs have curved cerci(which are little pinchers to grab food) and females have straight cerci on their abdomen. Sometimes, male earwigs use their cerci (little pinchers to grab food) to fight other males. Earwigs are known for having a foul smell.
Earwigs live all over the world, except Antarctica. Earwigs usually live in damp, shady places such as under leaves or in fallen trees. Earwigs can also be found in your home, mostly in basements or bathrooms, where there are damp and shady places.
All earwigs eat plants. Earwigs eat pollen out from flowers. Sometimes, earwigs will eat fruit such as apples. When they live in houses they eat some of our pests like spiders and flies. Only some times they can get honey to eat. On trees you might find them eating moss or fungi. To eat insects, an earwig will use its cerci (little pinchers). Birds will usually avoid eating earwigs due to their bad taste and smell.
- St. Pierre Stephanie (2002) Bug Books: Earwig. Heinemann. ISBN 1-58810-172-X