Insect identification > Dermaptera


The insects belonging in this group are commonly called earwigs, because of a mistaken belief that they crawl into the ears of sleeping persons. They are most abundant in warm climates, very few being found in the more northern states. Both winged and wingless species are known, the wings always shorter than the body and the front pair tough, leathery and shorter than the hinder pair.

The latter are very broad, nearly half-moon shaped, with veins radiating from a point behind the costa and about one-third the distance from the base to the apex: These wings first fold in plaits like a fan, then twice across to reduce their length and thus bring them under the forewings, the forceps aiding in this. At the end of the abdomen is a pair of prominent, horny cerci, shaped like forceps, differing in form in the two sexes. The mouth-parts are well developed and of the chewing type.

The order may be characterized as
Insects which when adult are usually rather long and narrow in form; with chewing mouth-parts and a pair of forceps - like cerci at the end of the abdomen. Wings may be absent or present; in the latter case the front wings are leathery and shorter than the others which are broad and fold in plaits from a center and in addition fold crosswise. Metamorphosis incomplete.