Anisolabis littorea (White, 1846)

REDUCED_NZ-Ento-Soc-Insect-Playing-Cards_Seashore-Earwigl RED

Common name: Seashore earwig

Order: Dermaptera  Family: Labiduridae

Size: 2-3cm long

This earwig is commonly found in coastal areas across most of New Zealand and its offshore islands. They hide under debris such as driftwood and stones above the high tide mark, and can sometimes be found in suburban gardens too. Their affinity for damp, dark places is reflected in their strong negative phototaxis, meaning that they will move away from light.

Seashore earwigs are predators and use their forceps (the large nippers at the end of their bodies) to catch small invertebrates such as slaters and millipedes. Males and females can be distinguished by the appearance of their forceps. In males the forceps are asymmetrical, with the right arm of the forceps more curved in than the left arm, while the female’s forceps are almost symmetrical.

After laying eggs, the female earwig will remain with her brood and care for them during the early nymph stages.