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Forficula auricularia L.
Insecta, Dermaptera, Forficulidae .

Common earwig

Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images


[R]Description
- Adult: brown; about 15 mm long; head and thorax conspicuous; antennae long and bending forwards; elytra short and covering the hind wings, which are rarely spread out; abdomen unprotected, very mobile and terminating in pincers (*) .
- Nymph: similar to adult but wingless and paler.

[R]Biology
This insect is polyphagous, feeding on higher plants, lichens, fungi and animal prey (*) .
About 80 eggs are laid from November to January, a second batch containing fewer eggs being deposited in March-April. Oviposition takes place in an earthen cell.
Egg: development lasting 10 days to 3 months depending on temperature levels.
Nymphal development includes 4 instars, lasting 40-50 days.
Females guard over eggs and 1st-instar nymphs, males being excluded from the earthen cell (*) .

[R]Life Cycle
- There is 1 generation per year.
- Eggs from each egg-laying period (there are up to 3 egg-laying periods, the last one taking place in the summer) give rise to distinct broods. All stages are present, except in the autumn, when there are only adults.

[R]Damage
- Occasionally, depredations may be severe. Earwigs cause damage to a wide variety of crops, especially to flower crops, hop, maize ears (Germany), peach and apricot (South of France). Damage caused to apple, pear (Mediterranean region), sugar beet and cauliflower (north of Europe) is less important.
Earwigs attack mature fruits (*) , forming cupule-shaped bites 3-10 mm across. This type of injury as well as penetration attempts can facilitate the appearance of fungal diseases, e.g. brown rot (Sclerotinia fructigena).
- Earwigs are sometimes beneficial, being useful predators of pests like aphids (*) , even on the above-mentioned crops.


[R]Common Names
DE: Gemeiner Ohrwurm ES: Tijereta, Cortapichas, Papanovias FR: Perce-oreilles IT: Forficola PT: Forfícula GB: Common earwig

[R] Images

  1. Forficula auricularia L. (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    Females overwintering under bark
  2. Forficula auricularia L. (Sauphanor B. / INRA Avignon)
    4th stage Pupa feeding on aphids On peach.
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  3. Forficula auricularia L. (Sauphanor B. / INRA Avignon)
    Female nursing its young nymphs
  4. Forficula auricularia L. (Sauphanor B. / INRA Avignon)
    Damage on apricot
  5. Forficula auricularia L. (Sauphanor B. / INRA Avignon)
    Damage to shoot of pear

To read this page in French

HYPPZ on line : Species (scientific name), Pests (common names), Glossary, Crops.

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