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common name for any of the smooth, elongated insectsinsect,
invertebrate animal of the class Insecta of the phylum Arthropoda. Like other arthropods, an insect has a hard outer covering, or exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed legs. Adult insects typically have wings and are the only flying invertebrates.
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 of the order Dermaptera. Earwigs are small, with pairs of horny, forcepslike abdominal appendages, larger in the male than in the female, and short, leathery forewings that cover the membranous hindwings when folded. Some of the 900 species lack wings; the winged species rarely fly. Many tropical earwigs are brightly colored and carnivorous, even cannibalistic. The common earwig of temperate climates is native to Europe but has spread widely and seems destined to become cosmopolitan in distribution. Most species feed on plants and some are serious pests; others are predaceous or scavengers. The pincers of the male are used in courtship battles with other males. The female is unusual in that it guards its eggs and tends the young, which molt from 4 to 6 times during metamorphosismetamorphosis
[Gr.,=transformation], in zoology, term used to describe a form of development from egg to adult in which there is a series of distinct stages. Many insects, amphibians, mollusks, crustaceans, and fishes undergo metamorphosis, which may involve a change in habitat,
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. The superstition that earwigs crawl through the ears and into the brains of sleeping persons probably derives from their nocturnal habits and the tarry or waxy odor of a secretion of their abdominal glands. A fossil earwig links the order to ancient cockroachescockroach
or roach,
name applied to some 4,600 species of flat-bodied, oval insects in the order Blattodea. Cockroaches have long antennae, long legs adapted to running, and a flat extension of the upper body wall that conceals the head. They range from 1-4 in. to 3 in.
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. Earwigs are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, class Insecta, order Dermaptera.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



any insect of the order Dermaptera. Earwigs undergo incomplete metamorphosis. The body is elongated (3.5–30 mm) and flexible; the coloring ranges from yellow-brown to black. At the end of the abdomen are pincerlike appendages (modified cerci) that are more complicated in the male than in the female. The forewings (tegmina) are hard and very short; the hind wings are membranous and hidden under the forewings when the insect is at rest. There are also wingless species in the order. The legs are ambulatory, and the tarsi are three-jointed.

Earwigs are found throughout the world, particularly common in the subtropics and tropics. Of the approximately 1,200 species, 26 are found in the USSR. Earwigs are predominantly nocturnal. During the day they hide under rocks, bark, fallen leaves, and other objects. They require moisture and heat. Sometimes earwigs swarm in houses or move into hives. They feed primarily on animal and plant remains but sometimes prey on small insects, spiders, and worms; some species, for example, the European earwig (Forficula auricularia), feed on plants and can damage agricultural crops.


Bei-Bienko, G. Ia. Nasekomye kozhistokrylye. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936. (Fauna SSSR, no. 5.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(invertebrate zoology)
The common name for members of the insect order Dermaptera.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


any of various insects of the order Dermaptera, esp Forficula auricularia (common European earwig), which typically have an elongated body with small leathery forewings, semicircular membranous hindwings, and curved forceps at the tip of the abdomen
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Empty them in the morning before they're on the move - and you may want to relocate them where you have an invasion of aphids, as earwigs eat aphids.
2000), whereas on the Pacific coast, the earwig was present in Seattle already in 1907 (Coyne 1928) and in Oregon in 1909 (Guillet et al.
Primary species of tachnid parasitoids Triarthria setipennis (Fallen) emerged from earwigs in the tree sparrow nests.
Earwigs are reddish brown beetle-like insects with sharp pinchers at the tail end.
The male earwigs in these eight petri dishes were observed until either the symmetric or the asymmetric male succeeded in copulating.
Earwigs (Dermaptera) of South Carolina, with a key to the Eastern North America species and a checklist of the North America fauna.
Empty them in the morning before they're on the move - you may want to relocate them where you have aphids, as earwigs eat aphids as well.
| | | Earwigs intricately fold and tuck their hindwings under tiny forewings, inspiring design of satellite solar panels.
Chewed holes in the leaves and flowers of dahlias and chrysanthemums mean earwigs may be munching them.
They work all day laying eggs and eating pests, especially earwigs and fly larvae, in the goat and cow manure.
Kerry McFadden sitting in her mock-Tudor Barratt house whining on about her Brian, love rat Darren Day attending the opening of a crisp packet and Janet Street Porter eating a plate of earwigs. Great.
Earwigs have the scientific name dermaptera while Jenny Long Legs (or Daddy Long Legs in England) is the colloquial name for the crane fly or tipulidae.