Elaunon bipartitus


Earwigs have chewing mouthparts and long flat or cylindrical bodies. Not all species have wings. In winged species the wings actually have to fold up under short, leathery forewings. This is similar to the elytra of beetles, called tegmina in earwigs. A defining feature of earwigs is the pincers (cerci) at the end of their abdomens. They can be curved upwards as a defence mechanism when the earwig is threatened. The pincers are also used to capture and hold prey as well as folding its wings. Females usually have smaller pincers and fewer abdominal segments. The photo I have taken is the species Elaunon Bipartitus. This native earwig is 18mm long and has pale yellow wing covers (elytra) with a central brown stripe. The young are similar to the adults but paler. Native earwigs are usually solitary. Another native species (Labidura truncata), is found all over Australia. It is a larger (35 mm) brown earwig, with an orange coloured triangle on its wing casings. The nymphs look the same as the adults but are wingless. It is the most common species. There is an introduced species, European earwig (Forficula auricularia), which is a pest in crops. This earwig is native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa. It has been introduced to North America, Australia and New Zealand. There are often lots of them. They are dark brown in colour, slightly shiny and have pale legs and pincers.

Adult size: 5mm-50mm

Out and about

Like all earwigs, they are nocturnal. Its habitat is in moist environments such as leaf litter, mulch and debris on the ground. Elaunon bipartitus is an Australian native, found mainly along the tropical and subtropical east coast but also in New Guinea and East Asia. Earwigs generally, of which there are about 2,000 species are found all over the world with the exception of Antarctica.

Reproduction and Life cycle

The female lays a single cluster of 30 to 60 eggs in the soil. They are white and oval-shaped. She will guard the eggs from predators and keep them clean till they hatch in 2 to 3 weeks. When the eggs hatch the nymphs are miniature versions of the adult and almost transparent.

To deter

To control

To control - Trap using a container of water with linseed oil added - Spray with liquid soap and vegetable oil at night when they are active - Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the base of plants

Plants to repel

Plants to attract


Why they are both Beneficial & Pest
Native earwigs feed on decaying plants, dead insects, and other organisms. Some species prey on live insects, while another native earwig is a specialised caterpillar predator. They also feed on pollen at night and are therefore important pollinators. Elaunon bipartitus is known to feed on mealy bugs. We have a lot of earwigs in our compost and we are quite happy for them to stay there. The European earwig feeds on flowers and vegetables The damage they do looks a lot like grasshopper damage. In most cases these earwigs can cause a lot of damage to crops but they can be beneficial as they are also predatory.