; class Insecta, subclass Pterygota)
Order of elongate, flattened, exopterygote insects whose major diagnostic features include cerci which are modified as a pair of forceps on the end of the mobile, telescopic abdomen; and fore wings which are reduced as short tegmina, beneath which the large, membranaceous hind wings are intricately folded, although many species are wingless. Earwigs are interesting in that they show parental care of offspring. They are found in crevices, particularly among plant debris, are nocturnal, and feed on living and dead plant and animal material. Some species are pests, damaging flowers and fruit. About 1200 species have been described, most of them occurring in the tropics and warm-temperate regions.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.