Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes



Species Forficula auricularia - European Earwig

earwig sp. - Forficula auricularia - female European Earwig - new for NB - Forficula auricularia - female European Earwig - Forficula auricularia - female Forficula auricularia? - Forficula auricularia - female European Earwig - Forficula auricularia Earwig - Forficula auricularia European Earwig - Forficula auricularia - female European Earwig, molt - Forficula auricularia - female
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Dermaptera (Earwigs)
Family Forficulidae (Common Earwigs)
Genus Forficula
Species auricularia (European Earwig)
Explanation of Names
Forficula auricularia Linnaeus 1758
auricularia = 'of or pertaining to the ear'
body 12-15 mm; forceps: ♂ 4-8 mm ♀ ~3 mm
Male forceps (distinctive among North American earwigs) 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 12-15 segments. Adult wings completely developed.

wing fully opened:

Essentially identical to F. dentata, but note introduced range.
Cosmopolitan, native to western Palaearctic; widely though spottily distributed across NA*; introduced from Europe around 1910(1)
*Forficula auricularia is no longer recognised in BC, WA, ID, OR, CA, and NV.
Life Cycle
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).
First observed in our area: Seattle, WA 1907 (Fact sheet).
The tachinid flies Triarthria setipennis (Fallen) and Ocytata pallipes have been introduced to control F. auricularia in the 1920s.
Fecal pellets are often found in the nests; these serve as a emergency food source under starvation conditions.(2)
Print References
Mueller et al. (1988) (F. auricularia predation on Eriosoma lanigerum)
Internet References
Fact sheet (Capinera 2010-2016)(3)
Works Cited
1.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
2.Insects and Their Beneficial Microbes
Angela E. Douglas. 2022. Princeton University Press.
3.University of Florida: Featured Creatures