My mom is great, she was a teacher who inspired thousands of kids to go on and do great things.  She made sure my sister and I made it to adulthood (not an easy job if you know the two of us!).  She also told me my life was over when I switched my major to entomology in college and how could I do that to her…  but that’s a whole different post.

Along with my awesome mom, there are some insect moms out there too.  

european earwig
You can tell males and females apart, males have curved cerci, females are straight.

The first one that came to my mind was earwigs (Dermaptera).  Earwigs are great insects that have maternal care.  They have full wings folded up underneath the short, leathery forewings, though they rarely fly. Despite the common name, they do NOT crawl in peoples’ ears.  It’s thought that the common name may refer to the shape of the hind wings being “ear-like”.  Depending on species, they can be scavengers, omnivores, predators, and some are even parasites.  There’s even an Earwig Research Center if you want more info.  They are mostly nocturnal and like hiding in cracks and crevices and other small protected areas.




Common earwig, Forficula auricularia.  Female.


Earwigs mate in the fall and hang out for the winter in a little chamber dug in the soil like a couple of hibernating bears just chillin’ until it’s warm outside.  In the spring, the male leaves and the female lays her eggs in just a couple of days.  Like a good, overprotective dermaptera w eggsmother, she will keep the eggs warm and protect them from predators.  She will even clean them to protect them from fungi like a mom licking her thumb and wiping off her ice cream coated three year old.  It doesn’t stop there either.  Once the eggs have hatched, she will continue to care for them.  They will stay in the nest until the second molt and be fed on food regurgitated by her.

That sounds like some pretty good mothering to me.  Even insect moms provide food, shelter, and care for their offspring, just like your mom right?  So appreciate your mom and all the other entomologically awesome mothers out there, and spread some of that entomological awesomeness on!  Happy Mother’s Day all!


earwig w brood
You can see the eggs and the first instar nymphs being protected by mom.



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