25 Super Cool Facts About Earwigs You Probably Didn’t Know

Posted by , Updated on September 15, 2017

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Have you ever been scared than an earwig will climb through your ear and lay eggs in your brain? If so, you’ve bought into an old wives’ tale. Earwigs aren’t dangerous to humans unless you consider damage to crops or infrastructure. But they are interesting little critters. These are 25 Super Cool Facts About Earwigs You Probably Didn’t Know!

25

Earwigs are part of the insect order Dermaptera. With about 2,000 species in 12 families, they are one of the smallest insect orders.

earwigSource: scientificamerican.com
24

They are found on all continents except Antarctica.

antarcticaSource: nationalgeographic.com
23

They are mostly nocturnal, hiding in small moist crevices during the day.

moonSource: nationalgeographic.com
22

Earwigs feed on a wide variety of insects and plants. Typically, damage to various crops and plants is blamed on earwigs.

earwig1Source: nationalgeographic.com
21

Many earwig species display maternal care, which is uncommon among insects.

maternalSource: nationalgeographic.com

20

The scientific name "dermaptera" is derived from ancient Greek, stemming from the words "derma" meaning "skin" and "ptera" meaning "wings."

earwig wingsSource: scientificamerican.com
19

The common term "earwig" is derived from Old English "ēare" meaning "ear" and "wicga" meaning "insect."

BeowulfSource: scientificamerican.com
18

Entomologists believe the name stems from the fact that an earwig's hind wings are unique among insects.

earwigSource: scientificamerican.com
17

Also, they resemble a human ear when folded.

folded earwigSource: scientificamerican.com
16

More popularly though, it is believed that the name is related to an old wive's tale which claims that earwigs burrow into people's brains through their ears and lay their eggs there.

brainSource: bbc.com

Luckily, this old wives’ tale is not true. However, there are a few old wives’ tales that do hold quite a bit of truth. Curious? Check out 25 Old Wives’ Tales That Are Actually True.

15

Scientists, however, have never found evidence of earwigs burrowing into ear canals. There have been anecdotal reports though.

earSource: scientificamerican.com
14

Earwigs are found all over the world, but luckily, there is no evidence they transmit diseases to humans or animals.

bacteriaSource: nationalgeographic.com
13

Although their pincers are often believed to be dangerous, even the curved pincers of the male cause no harm to humans.

earwigSource: nationalgeographic.com
12

Although they are typically seen as destructive to crops, there is a debate as to whether earwigs can also be beneficial since they eat other invasive species, like aphids.

aphidSource: bbc.com
11

In rural parts of England, earwigs are called battle-twigs.

earwig 2Source: nationalgeographic.com
10

It only takes an earwig about 20 to 70 days to become an adult. Talk about growing up quickly!

baby earwigSource: facts.net
9

In some parts of Japan, earwigs are called Chinpo-Basami, which translates to "penis cutter." Entomologists believe this is because they used to be found around old Japanese-style toilets.

squat toiletSource: yahoo.com. bbc.com
8

North America has about 25 species of earwig; Europe has 45; and Australia has a whopping 60!

australiaSource: nationalgeographic.com
7

The largest species can also be found in Australia. It is appropriately called the Australian giant earwig and can be more than 55 mm (2 in) long!

2 inches on rulerSource: scientificamerican.com
6

Although most earwigs have wings and are capable of flight, they are rarely seen flying.

Dermaptera_ps1Source: scientificamerican.com
5

A few earwig species are both wingless and blind.

purple earwigSource: scientificamerican.com
4

Earwigs live for about 1 year after hatching.

ripSource: nationalgeographic.com
3

For protection from predators, some species can squirt foul smelling yellow liquid from their bodies.

defensive earwigSource: orkin.com
2

Earwig eggs and nymphs are sometimes cannibalized by other earwigs.

noSource: nationalgeographic.com
1

"To earwig" is a slang term that means "to eavesdrop."

eavesdropSource: washingtonpost.com

Images: Featured Image: shutterstock, 25-23. pixabay (public domain), 22. shutterstock, 21. pixabay (public domain), 20. shutterstock, 19. wikimedia commons (public domain), 18. pixabay (public domain), 17. shutterstock, 16-12. pixabay (public domain), 11. shutterstock, 10. wikimedia commons (public domain), 9-7. pixabay (public domain), 6. Piero sagnibene from itDermaptera ps1CC BY-SA 3.0, 5. shutterstock, 4. pixabay (public domain), 3. AssafnForficula 2CC BY 2.5, 2-1. pixabay (public domain)

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