Entomology Notes 1: How to pin a baby earwig.

"Baby earwigs in their cosy little nest"

Baby earwigs peeking out of their cosy little nest

Our pet female earwig laid eggs three weeks ago today, and this morning’s inspection of the nest revealed that they had finally hatched. They are cute little fellows, all snuggled up cozily in their little nest with mom resting nearby, pausing for a moment before continuing her maternal duties: feeding, keeping the little tykes washed and fed, and protecting them from predators.

However, this is a unique opportunity for me. Entomologists are always adamant that, to be of value, specimens must be pinned and labeled. So I am going to sacrifice one of the little newborns now before they moult into the second instar phase.  It’s all  for the sake of science, and there are about 40 of them, so that’s more than enough for me to practice on. (I don’t have much experience pinning live insects.) Anyhow, below is the pin, quite small in comparison to the dime. I found a few of these in my mother’s old sewing basket and they should do just fine.

"Head of pin with Canadian dime (10c)"

The pin in question, alongside a Canadian dime (10 cent coin, 18.03 mm across)

I hope to give mom earwig the same treatment later, but below is the result of my first attempts at baby earwig pinning. You’ll be pleased to know it only took 16 tries!



"First instar of earwig"

How do you get these little guys to hold still?

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(No earwigglers were harmed in the making of this blog post, and yes, I know that is not an insect pin. Sheesh!)

This entry was posted in Alberta, Anthropomorphism, Bugs, Dermaptera, Forficulidae, Fun, Just plain silly, macro, MP-E65, Science, White Studio and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .


  1. Ted C. MacRae 20 February, 2012 at 8:53 AM #

    That last photo is simply fabulous (and yes, I clicked into the post ready to ‘instruct’ you not to pin immature insects) 🙂

    • Adrian 20 February, 2012 at 9:02 AM #

      Thanks for reading through it, Ted! I though that most reader’s would catch on to the extreme anthropomorphic writing I was engaged in, and that they would be looking for a punch line at the end.
      Maybe not…It even fooled my daughter who came running to find me, almost with tears in her eyes, because she did not move on to see the final image. Oh dear!

  2. Dave 20 February, 2012 at 4:57 PM #

    I was going to say shame on you, you beast! But instead, I get definitive proof of how many baby earwigs (or ‘earnings’ as the spellchecker insists) can dance on the head of a pin.

    • Adrian 20 February, 2012 at 7:07 PM #

      I am a beast. I wonder how many readers I lost because they never completed the post!

  3. Tony Heskett 26 February, 2012 at 7:24 AM #

    Nice job, thanks 🙂

  4. TGIQ 26 February, 2012 at 8:01 AM #

    LOL! Sneaky you. Great shot at the end and worth the anguish of mental pictures of helpless babies cruelly impaled 😉

  5. Adrian 26 February, 2012 at 10:38 AM #

    Bug impaling humor..I’m afraid it didn’t fly with the Google+ followers!

  6. Swellbugs 29 February, 2012 at 1:33 PM #

    Really nice pics. I’m impressed.

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    […] spirit of Adrian’s absolutely adorable pictures of “pinned” baby earwigs over at Splendor Awaits, a pinned baby luna moth: How many luna moths can dance on the head of a […]

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