Earwicga Aegas ǽgðer Ymelas

Earwig is to ant as earwicga is to ǣmete (‘emmet’)….

Rooted in Anglo-Saxon, the origins of earwig from the online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary:

 Old English ēarwicga, from ēare ‘ear’ + wicga ‘earwig’ (probably related to wiggle); the insect was once thought to crawl into the human ear.

This one was not found in my ear, but rather she was one of a pair found  in some imported vegetables (see previous pictures here). When I posted the first image on Google+, Alex Wild pointed out:  “That thing looks seriously pregnant“.

Well, look what I found today….

"Female Earwig with eggs and mites."

Earwig with eggs. Note mites on pronotum and left foreleg.

Earwigs are one of the few insects (outside of the Order Hymenoptera: bees, wasps and ants)  that show maternal care. They will protect the eggs and keep them clean, and after hatching they will continue to watched over until the second molt. Thankfully they are omnivores, so if all goes well, I should be able to keep this group going through to spring. This little mama has given me just the kind of subject I need to keep my ‘eye in’ for macro photography this winter.


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This entry was posted in Acari, Canon, Dermaptera, Forficulidae, Insect, macro, MP-E65, Phoresy, Season, Winter and tagged , , , , , , .


  1. Alison B. 15 March, 2012 at 9:50 PM #

    These pictures are lovely. Simply gorgeous. I especially love the “pinned” baby earwigs.

    I attempted to keep earwigs once, and mine also didn’t make it, but they were tremendously fun to observe. I’m curious what sort of habitat you used… it looks like you had them in cotton?

    You seem to have a missing link (“see previous pictures here”).

    • Adrian 16 March, 2012 at 4:48 AM #

      They were kept in a small white bowl with a few dried leaves, bits of carrot and a selection of dried fish foods. I used a small pill-box layered with filter paper that I kept damp for humidity. The female took to this spot, even pulling up clumps of dried tubifex worms to the top. The eggs were laid on the bowl bottom, but she soon moved them up to the moist filter paper, where they hatched.

      Thanks for the link correction!

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