The earwig - Wanted poster

The earwig - Wanted poster

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Surname: Earwig
Other names: Earpickers, Ohrenzwicker
Latin name: Dermaptera
class: Insects
size: 1 - 5cm
mass: ?
Older: 6 - 24 months
Appearance: red-brown tank
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Omnivore (omnivor)
food: Aphids, caterpillars, plant material
distribution: worldwide
original origin: Europe
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: unspecific
natural enemies: u.a. birds
sexual maturity: ?
mating season: all year round
oviposition: up to 50 eggs
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting facts about the earwig

  • The earwigs or Dermaptera describe a many-species order of flying insects that are native to the world.
  • The name of these tracheal animals is not derived from crawling or tweaking in the ears, but has in the past been ground to powder as medicines for ear infections. From the Latin epithet "auricula" derives in many languages, the name still used today "earwig".
  • There are more than a thousand species of earwigs worldwide, 34 of which are known in Europe.
  • In Europe, the common earwig or Forficula auricularia is considered the most widespread species.
  • Originally the common earwig originated from Europe, by the shipping traffic in the colonial time it spread gradually also in America, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand from.
  • He reaches a body length of about two centimeters. Other species such as the giant earworm can also be up to five inches long.
  • The body appears in a dark auburn, the wings are clearly stunted and are only partially suitable for flying.
  • The most striking feature of the earwig are the pliers at the end of the abdomen, the so-called Cerci. They are markedly shorter and more straight-lined in the females than in the males, whose cerci appear bent inwards.
  • The Cerci serve the earwig for courtship and defense.
  • On the abdomen are also stink glands. These produce secretions that also protect the earwig from attack by predators.
  • The earwig is a post-active and light-shy insect. He feels strongly attracted by damp and warm environment and is therefore often found under boards, stones, in piles of leaves and wall columns.
  • In many species, several animals form so-called sleep communities by retreating together into hiding places.
  • Earwigs feed mainly on vegetable matter and organic waste, but also like to eat smaller insects. As caterpillars and aphids serve as sources of food, they are considered beneficial among gardeners.
  • In autumn and winter the females lay their eggs in cracks under tree barks or in earth caves. They guard and care for the nest until the larvae hatch. Although they leave the hiding place to search for food, they always return to their mother-protected family.
  • Only after the second moult the larvae finally leave the care of the mother.
  • Depending on the species, the lifespan of earwigs is several months to a few years.


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