Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University System
Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University

Order Dermaptera


Dermaptera are medium size insects usually with four wings. The front pair of wings is short, leathery and meet down the center of the back, which leaves most of the abdomen exposed. The hind wings are folded under these. A pair on non-poisonous pinchers are found at the end of the abdomen. The pinchers are not segmented but consist of a single piece. The pinchers often are asymmetric, i.e., the right and left sides are shaped differently. They have chewing mouthparts.

Usually earwigs are found outdoors hiding under leaves, boards or in cracks during the day. Earwigs can be destructive in greenhouses and rarely in field crops. They are a nuisance when they enter homes. They release a bad smelling substance when disturbed. Some earwigs provide some parental care for the young.

Earwigs undergo simple metamorphosis. Most earwigs are about 1/2 - 3/4 inch in length as adults.

Insects in this order: earwig.

Ring-legged earwig, Euborellia annulines (Lucas). Photo by Drees.
Click on image to enlarge
Ring-legged earwig,
Euborellia annulipes (Lucas)
(Dermaptera: Carcinophoridae).
Photo by Drees.

From the book:
Field Guide to Texas Insects,
Drees, B.M. and John Jackman,
Copyright 1999, Gulf Publishing Company,
Houston, Texas

A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects, Bastiaan M. Drees and John A. Jackman.
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University •  Department of Entomology  •  412 Heep Center, TAMU 2475
College Station, TX 77843-2475 • 979.845.2516
Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University