The Common Earwig (Forficula auricularia) is an unmistakeable sight in our gardens, parks and woodlands. The long, slender, brown body and curved pincers at the tip of the abdomen are unlike any other insect. They can fly; their wings are folded up like an elaborate piece of origami and concealed in the relatively tiny, translucent wing-casings (elytra) on the thorax.
The earwig is very unfairly represented by humans, who have mythologised it into a pest that purposefully burrows into our ears. This couldn't be further from the truth - earwigs are extremely clean animals and would never tolerate such a grimy, sticky environment as the human ear canal!
They are also devoted parents, and are in the minority of insects which will actively tend to their young, feeding them, cleaning them and, if necessary, defending them from predators. The earwig's diet is varied; as an omnivore it will eat a variety of foods, such as pollen, leaf litter and other plant-based organisms, but it also eats small invertebrates, alive or dead, making the earwig an essential recycler and predator in the ecosystem.