ENT 317


Order: Dermaptera

Members in the order Dermaptera are commonly referred to as earwigs. Worldwide there are about 1,100 different species, and in North America north of Mexico, there's about 20 different species of earwigs.

They demonstrate paurometabolous metamorphosis. They're described as having wings that are short and hard. Earwigs are described as having front wings called tegmina that are leathery. And they have membranous hind wings.

Both nymphs and adults have chewing mouthparts. One of the distinctive features that you can see on the illustration associated with this insect order is the presence of forceps at the end of the abdomen. These structures are not used aggressively, but are used to defend territory.

It's thought that the common name "earwig" is given to this group as a result of their association with wigs worn by humans. Perhaps these insects crawled under the wig overnight. Wearers of these wigs thought that the insects were attempting to crawl into their ears. That's not an accurate account, although we do know that earwigs are nocturnal and they usually seek out dark, damp places to rest during daytime hours.

Male European earwig


Order: Dermaptera

Family: Forficulidae