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*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Order Dermaptera: the earwigs — Examples

Families represented below:
Anisolabididae (the anisolabid earwigs)
Diplatyidae (the diplatyid earwigs)
Forficulidae (the short-winged earwigs)
Pygidicranidae (the pygidicranid earwigs)

Diplatyidae, the Diplatyid earwigs

Earwig, probably genus <i>Diplatys</i>, (Order Dermaptera)
Earwig, probably genus Diplatys, adult and nymph, family Diplatyidae.
□ These photos show the adult (left) and nymph (two right photos) of an earwig, likely one in the genus Diplatys. One very obvious difference between the adult and nymph is the length of the cerci, or the tail-like structures extending from either side of its rear end. As a nymph, the cerci are thin and extremely long. As an adult, however, the cerci are beefier and much shorter.
Diplatys is a member of the family Diplatyidae, which is considered the most primitive family of earwigs. This means that the family first evolved far back in evolutionary time, and the species in that family still carry some of those ancient traits today. One of the ancient traits is seen in the adult male’s reproductive organs. Instead of having one functional organ (called an aedegas in insects rather than a penis as in mammals), the male has two and each can deliver sperm through two channels. For more on this characteristic, click here (Journal of Zoology).
Photographed and identified by to order by: Liew Tze Seong. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Malaysia. Date: 8 January 2017.
Seong noticed the nymph first, and then the adult, which “raises like a scorpion pose.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Thank you, Liew, for sending in a photo of the nymph and the adult!”

Forficulidae, the short-winged earwigs

Smyrna Earwig, Forficula smyrnensis
Smyrna earwig, male, Forficula smyrnensis, family Forficulidae.
□ This Smyrna earwig was spotted by 12-year-old Arda Akman. It was crawling in his house on the Mediterranean coast in the southwest part of Turkey. With its reddish, tan and dark coloration, and white markings, this earwig is one of the prettiest earwigs that KnowYourInsects.org has seen, so we are glad Arda is so observant!
Spotted by Arda Akman. Photographed by: Abdullah C. Akman. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Southwest Turkey. Date: 5 June, 2019.
Abdullah says the total length was 2 cm, or 0.8 inches, including the cerci (the curved pincers), and adds that it now “is safe and sound, released back in the garden.”
Smyrna Earwig, Forficula smyrnensis
Smyrna earwig, male, Forficula smyrnensis, family Forficulidae.
□ This Smyrna earwig is curling up its abdomen. This is a defensive/aggressive posture, and often these and other earwigs will curl even further — much like a scorpion — so the pincers are above the head.
Photographed and identified to order by: Kadri Arslan. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Antalya, Turkey. Date: 27 May, 2020.
Kadri saw this pretty earwig on the balcony tiles of the house.
Smyrna Earwig, Forficula smyrnensis
Smyrna earwig, female, Forficula smyrnensis, family Forficulidae.
□ The female Smyrna earwig has tail cerci, often called forceps, that are fairly straight, whereas the male’s are more curved. The genus name of Forficula means small scissors, and although it refers to the forceps, the forceps cannot actually cut.
Photographed and identified by: Blaz Rodic. Location: BreĹžice, Slovenia. Date: 18 September, 2021.
European Earwig
European earwig, also known as common earwig, Forficula auricularia, family Forficulidae.
□ This is a male European earwig, which has large, curved forceps, also known as cerci. (The forceps are the pincer-looking things at the end of the abdomen). The female’s forceps are straighter and much less robust (see the photo of a female elsewhere on this page).
Photographed by Gary Villegas. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA. Date: 23 June 2017.
Gary says, “The earwig was found on my backyard table.... I am so excited to know that there’s a website where I can go and identify all my bugs in my yard.” KnowYourInsects.org replies, “And we are so excited to find people like you who are intrigued by insects!”
European Earwig
European earwig, also known as common earwig, Forficula auricularia, family Forficulidae.
□ This female European earwig has smaller pincers, called forceps, than the male (pictured elsewhere on this page). Earwigs live loosely together, so it is not unusual to find a couple dozen of them together. Occasionally, they group in even larger numbers (see the comment below).
□ The European earwig was introduced from Europe to the northwest United States in 1907, had spread south to California by the early 1920s, and had made its way into much of the rest of the United States — and Canada — by the 1940s.
Photographed by Mara Fox. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Oakland, California, USA. Date: 23 June 2017.
Mara says, “I’m usually not too squeamish about bugs, but a huge colony (at least 100) of these were living in some sawhorses sitting in my yard .... I disturbed them, and they all cascaded out and headed straight for the house!” She adds, “Thanks for your informative website.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Glad to help!”
European Earwig
European earwig, also known as common earwig, male, Forficula auricularia, family Forficulidae.
□ This male European earwig is white because it is newly molted. Its color will soon darken to brown, as seen in other photos of this species on this page.
Photographed and identified by Leslie Mertz. Location: Otsego Township (south of Gaylord), Michigan, USA. Date: 14 July 2017.
Leslie says, “It was just peeking out of a crevice between a sign and signpost, and the white color caught my attention. Once it ventured out, I got this photo.”
Insect facts
Tegmina is the scientific term for the forewings of earwigs (order Dermaptera), as well as katydids, grasshoppers and others in the order Orthoptera, mantises (Mantodea), cockroaches (Blattaria) and walkingsticks (Phasmatodea). The tegmina in earwigs are short and cover only the foremost bit of the abdomen.
Click the photo to enlarge it

Anisolabididae, the anisolabid earwigs

Ring-Legged Earwig (Euborellia annulipes)
Ring-legged rarwig, female, Euborellia annulipes, family Anisolabididae.
□ This female ring-legged earwig has a pair of rather straight forceps, or cerci, whereas the male has much more curved forceps. Note the pale-colored ring around her neck.
□ This species looks quite similar to the African earwig (Euborellia cincticollis, which has more bead-like segments in its antennae: 17–20 segments for the African earwig, and 14-16 for the ring-legged earwig, according to BugGuide. To learn more and see the African earwig posted at BugGuide, click here.
Photographed by: Andy Nicholson. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Yadkinville, North Carolina, USA. Date: 21 February, 2019.
Ring-Legged Earwig (Euborellia annulipes)
Ring-legged earwig, female, Euborellia annulipes, family Anisolabididae.
□ The ring-legged earwig has a ring on the femur of each pale-colored leg, which is clearly seen in this photo. In fact, the species name of Euborellia translates to ring-legged. To separate female from a male, count the abdominal segments: the female also has only eight, while the male has 10.
Photographed by: Mike Weyer. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Jacksonville, Florida, USA. Date: 19 September, 2019.
Add your photo here!

Pygidicranidae, the pygidicranid earwigs

Pygidicranid Earwig (Cranopygia pallidipennis)
Giant pygidicranid earwig, Cranopygia pallidipennis, subfamily Pygidicraninae, family Pygidicranidae.
□ This giant pygidicranid earwig is quite attractive with its very long and thin antennae, and the patterning on its thorax and its short tegmina (the short forewings covering just the most-forward bit of its abdomen). Its body and pincer-like forceps, or cerci, can be up to 2 cm (more than 3/4 inch) long, and that is not counting the antennae. Note: This species was formerly listed under the genus Forficula.
Photographed and identified to order by: Shahrul Nizal. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Selangor, Malaysia. Date: 22 February, 2020.
Shahrul found this earwig in his bedroom. He says, “I tried to search it on the internet, but there was not much information about it...although I’m amazed with its look.”
See the variety! Insect facts
Despite many legends dating from centuries ago until today, earwigs do not enter people’s ears to lay their eggs or to access the brain. Earwigs lay their eggs in the ground, and they prefer moist, outdoor, sheltered spots, such as under fallen logs.


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