- Adults of both sexes have a pincer-like ‘tail’.
- The front wings are modified into short flaps which act as protective covers for the membranous hind wings used for flight. Some species lack wings. The basic design resembles that of beetles.
- The jaws are of the biting and chewing type.
- Terrestrial (= land living).
- The life cycle is egg, larvae with legs, and adult.
What they do & where they live
- They are nocturnal so hide by day. The food is basically anything edible, plant or animal. Females protect their young.
- Famously they live in gardens but are widespread in lowland habitats.
Number of species
- In Britain 7 species, one of which is extinct.
- The world fauna is 1,100 species.
It's amazing Female earwigs guard their family of young earwigs until they are able to fend for themselves in a dangerous mini-world. Such maternal care is not unique among insects, but it is a reminder that sophisticated family life is not restricted to vertebrates.