Project Noah

Project Noah is a tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere.

Join Project Noah Today

European Earwig

Forficula auricularia


The European earwig is a predatory insect with omnivorous feeding habits that occasionally result in significant injury to some economic crops. The adult normally measures 13-14 mm in length, exclusive of the pincher-like cerci (forceps), though some individuals are markedly smaller. The head measures about 2.2 mm in width. Adults, including the legs, are dark brown or reddish brown in color, though paler ventrally. The antennae have 14 segments. Despite the appearance of being wingless, adults bear long hind wings folded beneath the abbreviated forewings. Although rarely observed to fly, when ready to take flight the adults usually climb and take off from an elevated object. The hind wings are opened and closed quickly, so it is difficult to observe the wings. Adults bear a set of cerci at the tip of the abdomen. Adults can use the cerci in defense, twisting the abdomen forward over the head or sideways to engage an enemy, often another earwig. The pronounced cerci are the most distinctive feature of earwigs; in the male the cerci are strongly curved whereas in the female they curve only slightly. The forceps of some males are 3/16 inch (5 mm) long, while others have forceps 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) long. Young nymphs are guarded by the mother earwig, who remains in or near the cell where the eggs are deposited until the nymph's second instar is attained. This insect is omnivorous, feeding on a wide variety of plant and animal matter.


The European earwig hides among petals or leaves of garden plants or inside damaged fruit, shrubs, along fences, in woodpiles, around bases of trees, and behind loose boards on buildings.


Does NOT infest your ears, nor do they sting/bite. The pincers are for mating.

1 species ID suggestions

European Earwig
Forficula auricularia European Earwig, Forficula auricularia


keithp2012 5 years ago

thanks for the help

that is an earwig,

keithp2012 5 years ago

Thank you!

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 5 years ago

Nice macro, Keith!

keithp2012 7 years ago


West Babylon, New York, USA

Lat: 40.70, Long: -73.35

Spotted on Jul 6, 2010
Submitted on Sep 7, 2010

Related spottings

Earwig Earwig European Earwig Common Earwig

Nearby spottings

Tiger Lily Frit Fly Click beetle Asian Ladybug (smiley face pattern)