Monday, October 1, 2012

Common Earwig

Forficula auricularia
The Common Earwig is also called the European Earwig, but that name is a little bit misleading. Though they did orginate in Europe and Northern Africa, they can now be found all over North America as well, thanks (or not thanks?) to introduction during the 20th century.

You can identify Common earwigs by their skinny bodies and large forceps on the abdomen (they are slightly larger in males). They use them to mate, to feed, and for self defense!

The Earwig lives in cool, moist, dark places, and is most active during the night time. Though they look a bit frightening, they are actually plant eaters a lot of the time. They feed on different leaves, flowers, lichens, and algae, though they do sometimes snack on insects and insect eggs.

Mother Earwigs are pretty good parents. She lays her eggs before it gets cold, and stays with them over the winter, burrowing just slightly underground. She even cleans them to keep them free from fungal growth. In the spring she moves them into a single layer to make hatching easier, and then she will actually guard over them until they reach maturity!

Common earwigs are considered pests in some areas, because they will feed on crops.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Native to Europe
Size : Length up to 15mm
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Insecta -- Order : Dermaptera
Family : Forficulidae -- Genus : Forficula -- Species : F. auricularia

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