Spine-Tailed Earwigs – Doru spp.

Spine-tailed Earwigs


Latin Name: Doru aculeatum

Common Name: Earwigs, Spine-tailed earwigs.

Appearance: Spine-tailed earwigs are 9-13 mm long insects belonging to the family Forficulidae. They have a pair of characteristic appendages that look like forceps at the end of the abdomen called cerci. They have dark brown bodies with yellow legs and yellow markings on the edges of the pronotum. They use cerci in their defense and bend over like a scorpion during an alarming situation. These cerci are more curved in males as compared to females. They have a small spine in between the cerci giving them the name “Spined-tailed earwigs.” Their cerci are bent downward, unlike other species of earwigs. They have long hindwings folded under a hard wing cover (Forewing) but fly very rarely.

Host Plants or Food: Earwigs prey on plant pests such as Aphids, Mites, Scales, Caterpillar, etc. It may also eat plant material but cause no economic damage.

Territory: North America (Eastern US)

Mode of Damage: Beneficial Garden Insect. They prey on plant pests and are considered biocontrol agents.

Habits and Life History:

  • Spine-tailed Earwigs don’t like heat and dryness, so they usually live in cool and dark places during the day and come out at night.
  • They mostly hide themselves under debris, leaves, rocks, and tree bark.
  • Female earwigs lay eggs in winter into the funnel they dig in the ground. They lay 30 or more eggs. Eggs of earwigs are white or cream-colored and oval-shaped. Just before hatching, eggs become large and brown.
  • Eggs hatch into nymphs that are light brown and remain there in eggs till first molting and fed by their mother.
  • The second instar may come out during the night, feed, and return back to the nest during the day. Later instars feed freely on their own. They undergo almost 6 moltings before maturing into an adult spine-tailed earwig. The adults hibernate during winter under the soil.