Forficulidae

Adults in this family have an enlarged second tarsal segment, and a lack of dense setae on the underside of the tarsi. This is a large group of moderately sized earwigs.

European earwig, Forficula auricularia (Fig. 6.4a, b) Adults are about 16 mm long. The body is reddish brown, and the legs are pale yellow. Males have different-sized forms, and their forceps range in size from 3.5 to 9.5 mm. Eggs are about immlong, elliptical, and pale yellow. Eggs may be deposited in cavities in the soil, and laid in fall or spring, or both to produce two generations in a year. Eggs laid in the fall hatch in about 73 days, and eggs laid in the spring hatch in about 20 days. Females remain in the earthen cavity and with the eggs until the nymphs hatch, and then provide food until the second-instar nymph. Development of the four instars is about 68 days in the field, and 31 days in the laboratory at 16-21 °C 60-70% relative humidity (RH). Adults appear in late summer. Abdominal glands secrete an odorous liquid. They feed on green plants and insects. This earwig is abundant in gardens and organic mulch around buildings. This species was introduced into the USA in 1912 and is widely distributed in urban habitats; it also occurs in Europe.

Both males and females produce an aggregation phero-mone, which may explain the clumped distribution of this species, and why they are found in broods during winter. Their aggregation behavior also contributes to their pest status in the urban environment. Adults and nymphs gather in preferred harborages around the perimeter and inside buildings. Aggregation may be beneficial in terms of their role as predators of aphids, mites, insect eggs, and caterpillars, since they will aggregate in areas of high prey density. The parasitic tachinid (Tachinidae) flies, Digonichaeta setipennis and Racodineura antiqua, have been introduced to the USA, Australia, and other regions to control this earwig. D. setipennis deposits larvae into earwig harborages and itsearches for a host; R. antiqua deposits seed-like eggs on potential food, and when eggs are eaten the fly larvae hatch.

Spine-tailed earwig, Doru aculeatum Adults are 10-12 mm long; the body is brown with pale markings. The male has a short median thorn-like spine on the terminal abdominal segment. It occurs at outdoor lights at night. This species is distributed in the eastern USA.

Linear earwig, Doru lineare Adults are 9-ii mm long, and shiny black to brown. The male has a short median spine on the terminal abdominal segment, between the bases of the forceps. This species will fly to lights at night. It is distributed in the eastern USA.

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