Female common earwig with her eggs

Female common earwig with her eggs

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: A common earwig, Forficula auricularia, with her eggs.The picture shows a female earwig guarding a batch of eggs (yellow) within a tunnel constructed in the soil of a pot containing a strawberry plant. The roots of the plant are visible at the top of the picture. The earwig's pincers (cerci) are visible to the left of the picture, beyond the abdominal segments. The short tegmina (wing cases) are at the centre of the picture. Earwigs are insects belonging to the order Dermaptera; they differ from beetles (Coleoptera) by having short wing cases that do not cover the abdomen. In Coleoptera these are called elytra; they cover the abdomen and are the reason behind the mechanical robustness of beetles. Female earwigs show famously good maternal behaviour. The mother guards her eggs and continues to protect the brood even after the young emerge from the soil and become active above ground.

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Keywords: beetle, coleoptera, common earwig, dermaptera, earwig, egg, elytra, forficula auricularia, insect, maternal behaviour, mother, tegmina

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