Earwigs – we don’t hear that much about them however they do exist and live in the Las Vegas Valley. Did you know that there are three common species of earwigs – the European earwig, ring-legged earwig and the seaside earwig – we in Las Vegas need not worry about the seaside earwig since we are not near an ocean.
Earwigs are more active at night which is probably why there is the old wives tale that earwigs purposely crawl into people’s ears while they are sleeping and find their way to the brain – Totally Not True!
During the day earwigs go into hiding and like to rest in dark moist cracks like under debris, stones and tree barks. Their diet consists of both animal matter and plants – leaves, fruits, flowers and other insects.
When baby earwigs are hatched they remain in the hidden burrow that the female creates for them and she gathers food for them. The hatching process can be about 70 days during cooler temperatures and 20 days in warmer weather.
European earwigs have a dark reddish-brown color with a reddish head and pale yellowish-brown legs and is 5/8 inch long in length. The males have different-sized forceps and are 3/16 inch long. The female’s have a cerci (a small appendage at the end of the abdomen in pairs). Earwigs are characterized by the cerci, or the pair of forceps-like pincers that are located on their abdomen. The male earwigs typically have more curved pincers or cerci than females. These are used to capture prey, defend themselves and fold their wings under the short tegmina. The tegmina is the thickened fore wings on an earwig. They offer almost no power during flying so they are held out of the way of the hind wings.
The ringed-legged earwig color varies from black to brown with a yellowish-brown undersurface and the legs are yellowish with brown stripes. The adult ringed-legged earwig can be 1 inch long with 16 to 18 segmented brown antennae.
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