Worcestershire Record No. 24 April 2008 p. 22


Gary Farmer

Or to put it a little more scientifically, a macrolabic form of Forficula auricularia (Dermaptera) found in Proctors Barn Meadows, Redditch 8th July 2007.

The Common Earwig Forficula auricularia is a common insect and instantly recognisable by its curved nippers or pincers located at its rear end. These appendages are modified cerci and are more often referred to as forceps. They are used by the earwigs for defense, seizing pray and for delicate operations such as 'unzipping' the elytra to allow the wings to be unfolded for flight. The male's forceps vary in size from one individual to another and occasionally they grow out of proportion. Burr (1939, as referenced in Marshall and Haes, 1990) suggests that the increased size is more to do with nutrition and environmental conditions than with there being a true 'form'.

The macrolabic individual pictured here is the only one I have ever seen. It was hidden in a flower head of Meadowsweet but its forceps were clearly visible protruding from the flowers (an odd sight indeed).

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