Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Earwig

I've manged three species of Earwig to date, all of which have been found in Wales...i rarely record anywhere else. The most common has to be, Forficula auricularia (Common earwig), find these almost everywhere i look, its a good one to get familiar with.

Been fortunate to find Forficula lesnei (Lesne's Earwig) a few times, these where all confined to the grounds of Llandegfedd res.

The other and I'm surprised I've only found one, that being recently, Labia minor (Lesser Earwig). Took this in my garden under a plant pot. All attempts at getting a good photo of it in situ failed. When i moved it to more favorable location, it instantly flew no photo...UPDATED, i tell a lie, i do have this poor quality photo of it, now attached.

Common Earwig
Male Common Earwig

Female Common Earwig with eggs

Visible hind wings seen here as light and dark coloured "lobes"

Lesne's Earwig
Male Lesne's found on the Island Bank shoreline of Llandegfedd Res

Male Lesne's found near the Rangers office Llandegfedd "lobes".

Lesser Earwig
Lesser Earwig from my garden
For some good online info on these three, with a good photo of them side by side for comparison. Have a look at, The Earwig species of Devon and Cornwall by Malcolm Lee. Its in a link at bottom of this post as a (DOC)

I'm by no means an expert on Earwigs, far from it. I do look for them regularly in my area and think i've become familiar enough to id them all in the field. Well, adults at least, not sure how confident i would be with juv's?

Here I've attempted/provided a quick key to (adults of) five of the Earwigs that's found in the UK, either I've seen myself or know of recent sightings via iSpot and WAB, leaving out Giant and Bone-house Earwig. Both scientific and common names have links to different info or photos. I'm not best at this sort of thing, so if you see it as a fail then please do enlighten me.

1.      Wings absent… Eubrellio annulips (Ring-legged earwig)

 Wings present…2

2.      Hind wings visible as small lobes projecting out beyond forewings…3

No visible lobes projecting beyond forewings…4

3.      Small overall length <7mm…Labia minor (Lesser earwig)

      Overall length 8mm>…Forficula auricularia (Common earwig)

4        Size 6-7 mm (not including pincers), base of male pincers straight and broad to approx half its length then strongly incurved…Forficula lesnei (Lesne’s earwig)                                                                              


  1. Interesting article by Malcolm Lee. Quite surprising and will get me looking. Only seen common earwig myself.

  2. Yes its a useful article, your neck of the woods i believe?

  3. Yes, that was what surprised me. I thought I would only ever see Common round here.