Saturday, March 19, 2011

Earwigs--nothing to do with ears (or wigs)

Earwigs had a bad reputation in folklore, which suggested they crept into the ears of sleeping people and then either bore into eardrums or burrowed into brains, causing insanity.

Consider instead this sweeter and scientific view: for an insect, an earwig mama is unusually attentive. She regularly turns and cleans her eggs. And if the young are threatened, she'll defend them with opened pincers, or pick them up in her mouth and move them. She continues to guard her babies after they hatch, bringing food and frantically gathering them if they disperse. However, after a week or two they are strongly motivated to leave when she develops a tendency to eat them. An earwig's mother love only extends so far.

You can recognize the gender of earwigs by their pincers.
Males'  pincers are curved; females (like this one) have
straighter pincers. Impress your friends with this knowledge!  

3 comments:

  1. How did you know my friends would be impressed by this? It's amazing. Now people want me to come over for dinner and ". . .by the way, will you sex our earwigs?" I'm great fun at parties!!

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  2. Patricia K. LichenMarch 19, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    Just add this skill to your long list of charms, Roxie!

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  3. Eww. I hate earwigs, and now I have one more reason. They eat their young. Disgusting little creatures. Can't stand to touch them.

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