Earwigs (Dermaptera)

Greek "derma" (skin) + "ptera" (wings)
Earwigs are long, slender insects, with cerci at the end of the abdomen that look like pincers. The cerci are used for grooming, defense, courtship, and to open and close the wings. Earwigs are usually brown/black in color and range from about 1/8 inch to 3 inches long. They have two pairs of wings: the fore wings are short and thick and protect the longer fan-shaped hind wings. They usually hide during the day in dark, moist places and come out at night to eat plants and organic matter. The name "earwig" comes from the false belief in earlier times that earwigs crawl into human ears and lay eggs in the brain (not true!).
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© 2004 Joyce Gross
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T. W. Davies © 1999 California Academy of Sciences


Quick ID

  • pincers on the back (cerci)

More information about Earwigs

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Last updated: Jan 2, 2017