Sunday, April 26, 2009


While in Hawaii, I took pictures of whatever insects I happened across. As it turns out, I came across a black earwig, family Chelisochidae, of which there is only one species. It is most common on islands in the Pacific. The passage from Borror and DeLong indicates that they may be found in California. Earwigs are members of the order Dermaptera, and are found all over the world. They can pinch with their rear pincers if disturbed, and feed on small insects such as caterpillars. I would have collected this as a specimen, as it is one of the families we need, but I did not know at the time whether it was a native species to Hawaii. Unfortunately, many native insects in Hawaii are threatened by invasive species. Regardless, I will be keeping my eye out for any in California - down in San Diego is probably one of the more likely places they will be as it is closest to tropical, and this species prefers moist climates.

Dermaptera; Chelisochidae; Chelisoches morio
Common Name: Black Earwig

The word Dermaptera comes from the short leathery wings, "derma" referring to skin and "ptera" to wings. There are approximately five families of Dermaptera, depending on which taxonomic guide one uses. The most common one seen in California is the European Earwig, family Forficulidae. Earwig females lay a dozen or so eggs, and some remain by the eggs until they hatch.

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