Common Insect Species of Northwestern Ontario





Class Insecta (Hexapoda) Subclass Pterygota
- insects with wings, or insects whose ancestors had wings

Order Dermaptera

Earwig Insects in this order are known as earwigs. This name derives from the belief that earwigs invade people's ears, but this is a superstition. Earwigs are omnivores, meaning they feed on a variety of plants and animals, dead and living. They are mainly nocturnal (active at night) in habit, and hide among plants and cracks or crevices. Development of the young is gradual to the adult stage, and females guard their eggs until they hatch into nymphs, which is an unusual form of parental care among insects. Earwigs are slender and somewhat flattened. The front wings are short and sturdy and cover the hind membranous wings folded beneath when not in use. These insects have large forceps-like cerci (pincers) at the tip of the abdomen which are used in defense and courtship, and to capture and hold prey. When handled they will attempt to pinch with their cerci, but normally are unable to cause injury. The common, worldwide earwig, Forficula auricularia, has been a resident in different parts of Ontario for many years, but in Thunder Bay only recently. It lives in gardens mainly and is sometimes found in homes, often among potted plants.

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