Forficula auricularia

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Forficula auricularia male (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Eugene Zelenko
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Forficula auricularia (plant pest) Linnaeus - (European earwig)

This species of earwig is native to Europe as well as parts of Asia and Africa. In Europe it is mainly considered to be a beneficial predator of insect pests in fruit orchards, see F. auricularia (as predator).

However, it has been introduced into several areas outside its native range. It has been recorded from North America since 1907 and populations there can reach high densities in a moist environment. They can then cause significant damage to fruits and may be also regarded as a nuisance pest when they enter houses in larger numbers.

The earwig has been also accidentally introduced into the Falkland Islands (first record 1997/98) where it also causes considerable damage to garden and greenhouse crops and invades houses and the local hospital in autumn in large numbers.

Although the earwigs are harmless, their appearance can be fearsome to some people, due to their habit of flexing the abdomen and displaying their pincer-like forceps.