Pincers of Peril

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday, 22 December 2018 17:52

I don't often post about earwigs. Mainly because there are so few species. I have just had a lifer from some samples I took in west Kent in September though. I have finally seen a Hop-garden Earwig! It's not been recorded in Sussex. It seems the best part of the world to see it is in Kent, Suffolk and Essex, so it's likely to turn up in north East Sussex if it ever will. The females look quite like Lesne's Earwig females but the males have quite different pincers to one another. Both species lack the visible hind-wings peeping out from under the fore-wings that is so obvious on a Common Earwig (which I don't have a photo of).  You could easily mistake either of them for an immature Common Earwig if you don't know what you're looking for. They look neater and a bit more translucent and less substantial than Common.

Here is the male Hop-garden.

And the male Lesne's Earwig.

I have 149 records in my database of earwigs. One for Hop-house and 13 for Lesne's, showing  that Common hugely dominates in the field. But I have seen a fourth species that has not made it into my database at it's in the log book at work for the Woods Mill moth trap. The tiny rove-beetle-like Lesser Earwig turned up a few years ago. This really is a midget, half the size of the other species. This one does have very obvious hind-wings protruding through. 

How many of you got the popular culture reference in the title? I wonder if anyone did because I always thought it was Power not Peril but then so did half the Internet...

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