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Insect Scout: Nanda Gopal
Location: Miryalaguda, AP, India
Species Identifier(s): Debbie Hadley (http://insects.about.com/)
Points to appreciate:
- This is an immature nymph of an earwig.
- Notice how complicated the mouthparts are for such a small insect. This one was not more than 2 mm.
- Observe the fine structure of the antennae.
- See the single strand of tail-like structure on its rear? There are actually two of them. One is not visible in this photograph. When the creature grows these become forceps like structures.
- I shall soon post the adult of this creature. You can better appreciate the tail-like parts then.
- If you guys observe closely, you can find an even smaller black creature near the head of the white one. Click on the image to see its full size. You can see the black one clearly then.
- Earwig is the common name given to the insect order Dermaptera characterized by membranous wings folded underneath short leathery forewings. The abdomen extends well beyond the wings, and frequently, though not always, ends in a pair of forceps-like structures termed cerci.
- The forceps is used for a variety of purposes. In some species, the forceps has also been observed in use for holding prey, and in copulation. The forceps tends to be more curved in males than in females.
- Earwigs are quite common globally. Earwigs are generally nocturnal and can be seen patrolling household walls and ceilings. Earwigs are also drawn to damp conditions. Earwigs tend to gather in shady cracks or openings or anywhere that they can remain concealed in daylight hours.
- Most earwigs are elongated, flattened, and are dark brown. Lengths are mostly in the quarter- to half-inch range (10–14 mm), with the St. Helena earwig reaching three inches (80 mm).
- Flight capability in Dermaptera is varied, as there are species with and without wings. Most species of winged earwigs are capable of flight, yet earwigs rarely fly around.
- This species feeds on other insects, plants, ripe fruit, and garbage. Earwigs can be considered in some ways a beneficial part of the garden, especially when they prey on other insects, but they can become a nuisance because of their habit of positioning themselves within leaves and feeding on soft plant tissues.