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. For example, it has been introduced into Australia in the first half of the 1800s and has been recorded from North America since 1907. In some of the invaded areas, populations can reach high densities and cause significant crop damage. Among the crops affected are alfalfa, rapeseed and fruits (e.g. see Kirkland et al., 2020). The earwigs may be also regarded as a nuisance pest when they enter houses in larger numbers.

More recently, the earwig has been also introduced accidentally into the Falkland Islands (first record 1997/98), where it 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.

For a review see Orpet et al. (2019).