Status: British Isles native species.
Description: Shiny, chestnut-brown earwig with lighter wingcases and legs. Commonest species of earwig in Europe. The 'forceps' are curved in the male and straight in the female.
Wings: Fully winged but rarely observed in flight. Active at night. The wings are ear-shaped (the name earwig was originally ear-wing) and like in all earwig species they are folded up in an extremely complicated way to fit under the tiny wing cases. In the Common Earwig, the folded wings can be seen protruding slightly from the wing cases. Common earwigs are seldom seen in flight.
Food: Detritus and plant-feeder - mainly decaying plant material, but sometimes flowers.
Habitat: Typically occurs in long vegetation, under bark and under debris in almost any habtitat. Can be a minor garden pest through damage to petals of flowers, especially chrysanthemums and dahlias.
Phenology: Four nymphal instars (continental populations have five). Adults can be observed throughout the year but are most noticeable in autumn (commonly shaken from dahlias and chrysanthemums in gardens). Females are capable of two generations. The female earwig shows an unusual level of parental care for an insect, guarding her eggs and the newly hatched wiglets after hatching.
Distribution: The records held by the National Biodiversity Network are shown in the map below.
Terms & conditions
Colours show the year of the last record -
up to 1987
1998 up to present
Only Recording Scheme datasets are included. Other datasets on the Gateway may hold additional information.Open interactive map for all datasets in new window