Friday, September 19, 2008

Earwig

Earwigs are small to medium-sized, usually brownish insects that have a pair of pincers at the end of the abdomen. The approximately 900 species, constituting the order Dermaptera, are distributed worldwide. Most resemble the common earwig, Forticula auricularia. Some species are wingless, however, and two tropical genera are parasites on bats and rodents. The name “earwig” derives from tales about the insects crawling into ears. Earwigs feed on both plants and small animals, sometimes capturing prey by using the pincers, which are strong enough to nip human skin. Female earwigs display primitive social behavior by tending their eggs and young, which resemble the adults and undergo simple Metamorphosis. The insects are mainly nocturnal and can be a pest in garden by damaging flowering plants.

A male earwig (A) differs from a female (B) by having wings, one pair of which is short and leathery and the other pair veined and delicate. Both male and female have forceps-like pincers on their abdomens (C), which are used for defense. The female is shown in a defensive posture with pincers raised.

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