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  Earwigs - An Overview

Earwigs are relatively flat insects and have short, veinless forewings that protect the large, fan-shaped hindwings. The abdomen is mobile and telescopic, with a pair of forceplike appendages that are usually straight in females and curved in males. Earwigs molt up to 5 times. Apart from increasing in size and gaining antennal segments with each molt, they look similar to their parents. Earwigs like confined spaces. Their name may refer to the popular belief that they enter human ears (they rarely do), or to the shape of their hindwings.

  Common Earwigs

These typically slender earwigs vary in appearance but are usually dark brown or blackish brown, with paler legs and threadlike antennae. The abdominal forceps of the male earwigs are highly curved, whereas those of the females are relatively straight.

  Life Cycle

Females usually lay eggs in soil under rocks or bark. They guard the eggs against predators and lick them clean to prevent any fungal growth. Apart from plant matter, the diet may include small catepillars, aphids, and other insects.


Worldwide. In leaf litter and soil, under bark, or in crevices.


These insects can be pests of crops or garden plants.

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