Earwigs are nocturnal, omnivorous scavengers which do far more good than harm, despite their bad reputation. They got their common name from the myth that earwigs sought out human ears and chewed through the ear drums. There is absolutely no basis to the last part of this old wives' tale, but earwigs may occassionally investigate the ears of people sleeping on the ground, much the same as they will investigate any other dark crevice the come across when they are looking for somewhere to rest during the day.
male Forficula auricularia
female Forficula auricularia
The Common Earwig (Forficula auricularia) is the commonest earwig in Britain, with only one other species being quite well spread in England. Another 2 species occur in southern England but these are generally quite rare and localised.
There are only about 1000 species known worldwide.
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