Lesne’s Earwig Forficula lesnei. Scarce in Worcestershire or just overlooked?
Lesne’s Earwig is an uncommon species nationally. The soon to be updated Grasshoppers, Crickets and Allied Insects in Britain and Ireland (Haes & Harding 1997) notes that it is Nationally Scarce (B) and is ‘recorded from scattered locations in Southern England and the Gower’. At that time there were no records for Worcestershire but I subsequently found it at Windmill Hill (Worcestershire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve) and along the river Avon at Twyford Garden Centre (Evesham Country Park). Twelve years on I revisited the two sites to look for this small earwig and found it again at both places. Its chosen habitat at these sites is Old-man’s-beard Clematis vitalba growing over or adjacent to old Hawthorn hedges. NBN Gateway now shows several records for our area; a cluster around Evesham, a single record from Pershore and a single record further north, from Highley. So are they waiting to be found at other localities in Worcestershire?
Turn your brollies up-side-down and give an Old-man’s-beard a good hard shake (just make sure it’s not attached to an old man!). You are pretty much guaranteed to find Common Earwigs Forficula auricularia so get your records in for those as well. If you find a smaller (around 8mm), ginger/brown earwig with no protruding wings amongst the larger chestnut/brown individuals check the cerci (pincers). If you have a male the identification is straight forward (see images).
Farmer, G. 2001. The earwigs of Worcestershire Worcestershire Record 11:32
Haes, E.C.M. & Harding, P.T.. 1997. Atlas of grasshoppers,crickets and allied insects in Britain and Ireland. The Stationery Office, London
1. Lesne's Earwig Forficula lesnei male 10.09.12 Windmill Hill. Gary Farmer
2. Lesne's Earwig Forficula lesnei female 10.09.12 Windmill Hill. Gary Farmer
3. Common Earwig Forficula auricularia male cerci
4. Lesne's Earwig Forficula lesnei male cerci. Gary Farmer