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or ear clips


Classification (systematic position)
Source : INPN


Animal Kingdom
Embranchement (Phylum) : Arthropoda
Subphylum: Pancrustacea
Class: Hexapod
Subclass: Insecta
Order: Dermaptera
Genre : Forficula



Morphological characteristics
Insects having an elongated body in 3 parts (head, thorax, abdomen), 2 long antennae, 3 pairs of legs, 2 pairs of wings: the front wings are very short and cover membranous hind wings; presence of abdominal claws (or cerci) which help to fold the wings after flight, chewing-type mouthparts.


Life cycle
The female earwig lays her eggs in autumn sheltered in the ground, under the bark of trees or in dead leaves. She watches her eggs until hatching (end of winter) and until the larvae are self-sufficient. The lifespan of the most common species in our gardens ( Forficula auricularia commonly called Earwig) is over a year. About twenty species are present in France.


The earwig is a polyphagous (or omnivorous) that feeds both on small live or dead prey and on parts of very mature, damaged and/or in the beginning of decomposition plants (fruits, petals, roots, etc.). It also feeds on aphids and other small insects.


Natural predators or regulators
Earwigs are the prey of birds.


Earwigs hide inside small cavities in the ground or in dark places during the day and they preferentially come out at night to feed. They are very common in gardens and are often found under piles of wood or stones and under bark.


Interests in the garden
The earwig is harmless and participates in the recycling of organic matter and regulates the populations of various small insects such as aphids.


Did you know ?
The earwig is one of the only insects that would experience "motherly love" by taking care of its eggs by licking them and moving them to prevent them from molding until the young emerge at the end of winter. This maternal care would be necessary for the hatching of the eggs because the eggs are very thin and therefore very fragile.

The name earwig comes from the shape of the animal's cerci which resemble the tools formerly used by watchmakers to pierce the ears.

Last change : 03/04/22