Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First taxonomically valid description published by Carolus Linnaeus
in the 1758 10th edition of his Systema naturae
using the name Forficula auricularia
Explanation of Names
auricularia is Latin for "of or pertaining to the ear" (auricula="ear")
Male forceps 4 to 8 mm (Figs. 1-2); female forceps 3 mm, tegmina 2 mm. Male forceps vary from about half as long to longer than the abdomen, broadened basally, with crenulate teeth basally and on beginning of curvature of inner margin. Antennae have 12 to 15 segments. The adult is rich reddish-brown, with wing covers and legs dull yellow brown, and the wings completely developed. Males are readily distinguished from other North American species of earwigs by their distinctive forceps:
Male (below left), Female (below right):
View showing wing fully opened:
Cosmopolitan, native to western Palearctic; widely though spottily distributed across NA; introduced from Europe around 1910(1)
First observed in the United States (Seattle, WA) in 1907 (Fact sheet
The female lays a clutch of eggs, which she tends and grooms in order to keep it clean and safe.
The immature earwigs are basically like miniature, undeveloped versions of the parents, with wings developing gradually on the outside of the body with each molt, the number of segments in the antennae also increasing with each molt, and the forceps developing from thin rods into the characteristic shapes of the adults. The female continues to look after them after hatching (at least in the early stages).
The tachinid flies Triarthria setipennis
(Fallen) and Ocytata pallipes
(Diptera: Tachinidae) have been introduced for the control of (Forficula auricularia
) in the 1920s. They provide limited control.
from Penn State
. Biology of Triarthria setipennis
(Fallen) (Diptera: Tachinidae), a native parasitoid of the European earwig, Forficula auricularia
L. (Dermaptera: Forficulidae), in Europe
Biocontrol Science and Technology
. Biology and host range testing of Triarthria setipennis
and Ocytata pallipes
(Diptera: Tachinidae) for the
Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol.
Benefits and costs of earwig (Forficula auricularia) family life
Earwig (Forficula auricularia) predation on the woolly apple aphid, Eriosoma lanigerum