Phylum: Arthropoda (image 1)
Earwigs make up the order Dermaptera, which translates into skin wings. They are a smaller insect order with only 1,800 species in 12 families. They are found throughout North and South America, Eurasia, Australia, and New Zealand. They are nocturnal and undergo around 5 molts per year (which is about their life span). Many earwigs are epizoic and some show signs of maternal care, which is very uncommon for insects.
(image 2 & 3)
Most earwigs’ bodies are flattened and flexible abdomens to help them fit into tight crevices. They normally grow between 7-50 millimeters and are characterized by the pincers on their abdomen. The males have curved pincers and the females have straight ones. They fold their wings under their pincers which they rarely use to fly. The epizoic species do not have wings.
III. Form and Function:
Earwigs use their pincers to obtain their food and to protect themselves. They are normally scavengers but can also be omnivores and predators. They are one of the few insects that actually hunt for their food. They prey on arthropods, plants, and ripe fruit. They are eaten by birds, lizards, centipedes, and spiders.
Earwigs are hemimetabolous, which means they go through incomplete metamorphosis. After the male and female mate, the sperm sometimes remains in the female for months before the eggs are fertilized. The female then begins to lay about 80 white eggs in 2 days. The babies hatch within 7 days. The mother will warm, clean, and defend the eggs until they hatch. The parasitic earwigs give birth to live babies. The mother takes care of the babies until their second molting.
IV.Impact on the World/Humanity:
They do not transmit any diseases to humans or any animals. An urban legend says that they crawl into human ears and lay eggs in the brain….finding them in a human ear is very uncommon.
They are helpful and harmful to crops. They eat the insects that infest the crops yet also eat the crops themselves.
V. Journal Article review:
This journal article is about the urban legend of earwigs crawling into peoples ears and causing them to go deaf and experience pain. This article is saying how it’s a false myth and that earwigs do not harm people.
images 1,2,3,5- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earwigs
images 4- http://agspsrv34.agric.wa.gov.au/ento/pestweb/Images/earwig1.gif