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 (dark shadow at the bottom of the frame) in the soil of a pot containing a strawberry plant (roots visible). The earwig's pincers (cerci) are visible, with her abdominal segments (reddish brown) above. The short tegmina (wing cases) are pale brown, below the insect's head. Earwigs belong to the order Dermaptera; they differ from beetles (Coleoptera) by having short wing cases that do not cover the abdomen, as shown here. In Coleoptera these cases are called elytra; they cover the abdomen and contribute to the mechanical robustness of beetles. Female earwigs are famed for their 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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