Earwigs/Stick Insects

(Order: Dermaptera/Phasmatodea)

Common earwig (males top two rows, females third row)(Forficula auricularia) (Quarry View, Loch Fyne, Argyll and Darnley Country Park, South West Glasgow)

A very common insect that likes warm houses (and my kayak - top photo) and is easily recognisable by the pincers at the end of its abdomen.  And no, they don’t crawl into your ear….  Both sexes have pincers, but males (as in the first three photos) have large, sharply curved, almost circular pincers whilst the female's pincers (as in the next three photos) are much straighter. They will raise their pincers when provoked (PS just to set the record straight - I was not intentionally provoking this female!) They are one of the few non-social insects that care for their young unless the young try to outstay their welcome in which case they are at risk of being eaten by their mother!  The earwig at the bottom was found crawling around on my kitchen floor at the beginning of January.  Because I obviously can't put it back on the kitchen floor, or put it outside to face certain death in sub-zero temperatures, I'm having to keep it in a plastic ventilated container and provide it with leaves and water like a pet.  Family's not thrilled funnily enough. Stick insects (below) are one thing, but a pet earwig....!

Indian Stick Insect (Carausius morosus)

This is Robert the Spruce, one of my three pet stick insects, looking particularly cute!  As the name suggests these stick insects originated from Asia, but they have been introduced to the UK and can survive in the wild provided it is warm enough.  Accordingly, they tend to survive better in the south of England than they do in the less than tropical Scottish climate.  They can often be seen swaying from side to side, which they apparently do to imitate a twig blowing in the breeze.  These stick insects can also regrow lost limbs  and they can lose up to three legs if the balance is right, but the newly grown limbs will never be as large or as strong as the original ones.  Almost all Indian stick insects are female and are parthenogenetic which means they can reproduce without mating. Way to go I say....