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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, nymph (immature), probably genus Diplatys, family Diplatyidae (the diplatyid earwigs).
□ This one had KnowYourInsects stumped for a while, as we had never seen an earwig larva with such amazingly long cerci (“tails”)! Note: This genus is sometimes listed as being part of the family Pygidicranidae.
Photographed and identified by to order by: Liew Tze Seong. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Malaysia. Date: 8 January 2017. Says Seong, “I also noticed that there’s another insect which looked similar but only bigger, and its tail is like a pincer-like, which it raises like a scorpion pose. I think this may be the adult.”
Earwig, probably genus <i>Diplatys</i>, (Order Dermaptera)
Earwig, nymph (immature), probably genus Diplatys, family Diplatyidae (the diplatyid earwigs).
Diplatys is a primitive genus of earwigs. Note: This genus is sometimes listed as being part of the family Pygidicranidae.
Photographed and identified by to order by: Liew Tze Seong. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Malaysia. Date: 8 January 2017.
Earwig, probably genus <i>Diplatys</i>, (Order Dermaptera)
Earwig, probably genus Diplatys, family Diplatyidae (the diplatyid earwigs).
□ This is the adult of the nymphs in the previous photos. The cerci are much shorter in the adult earwig. Note: This genus is sometimes listed as being part of the family Pygidicranidae.
Photographed and identified by to order by: Liew Tze Seong. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Malaysia. Date: 8 January 2017. 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 (the short-winged earwigs)
□ This Smyrna earwig was spotted by 12-year-old Arda Akman 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 (the short-winged earwigs)
□ This Smyrna earwig is curling up its abdomen. This is a defensive/aggressive posture, and often they 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.
European Earwig
European earwig, also known as common earwig, male, Forficula auricularia, family Forficulidae (the short-winged earwigs)
□ This male European earwig is white because it is newly molted. Its color will darken until it looks like the previous photo.
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.”
European Earwig
European earwig, also known as common earwig, Forficula auricularia, family Forficulidae (the short-winged earwigs).
□ This is a male European earwig. The male has the large, curved forceps. The forceps are the pincer-looking things at the end of the abdomen). The female’s pincers are much 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 (the short-winged earwigs).
□ This female European earwig has smaller pincers, called forceps, than the male (pictured elsewhere on this page). Earwigs live loosely together, so it’s not unusual to find a couple of dozen together. The photographer, however, saw a hundred in a group (see the comment below), and that is a large group! The European earwig was introduced from Europe to the northwest United States in 1907, and spread south to California by the early 1920s, and 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!”

Anisolabididae, the anisolabid earwigs

Ring-Legged Earwig (Euborellia annulipes)
Ring-legged rarwig, female, Euborellia annulipes, family Anisolabididae (the anisolabid earwigs)
□ This female ring-legged earwig has a pair of rather straight pincers, whereas the male has much more curved pincers. Note the pale-colored ring around her neck. This species looks quite similar to the African Earwig, 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.net.
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 anisolabid earwigs)
□ 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. Besides the shape of the pincers (also known as forceps) to separate it from a male, the female also has only eight abdominal segments, while the male has 10.
Photographed by: Mike Weyer. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Jacksonville, Florida, USA. Date: 19 September, 2019.
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Pygidicranidae, the pygidicranid earwigs

Pygidicranid Earwig (Cranopygia pallidipennis)
Giant pygidicranid earwig, Cranopygia pallidipennis, subfamily Pygidicraninae, family Pygidicranidae (the pygidicranid earwigs)
□ This giant pygidicranid earwig is quite attractive with its very long and thin antennae, and the patterning on its thorax and its short elytra (the wings covering just a bit of its abdomen). Its body and forceps (the pincers) can be up to 2 cm (more than 3/4 inch) long, and that isn’t 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.”
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Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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