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Desert Diary



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Perhaps one creature that makes many of us shiver in horror is the earwig, found almost worldwide. Stories abound about how these creatures will crawl into people's ears—and bite through eardrums or do some other damage. But except in the unlikely event that it regards the ear as a cozy crevice, an earwig is not likely to enter—and it certainly won't do the other things of which it is accused!

Despite its reputation, the earwig is an unusually caring parent. Females protect and clean their eggs—and once the young hatch, mom feeds them and even accompanies them on their first foraging expedition. Since earwigs eat decaying plants or animals, they provide a vital function as nature's recyclers. They can also use the pincers at the end of their abdomens to catch insects, but they're more likely used in defense. These insects seldom use their wings, keeping them carefully folded into dozens of layers underneath protective wing cases. It's amazing how even the most distasteful pen and inkof nature's creations have fascinating qualities.

Listen to the Audio (mp3 format) as recorded by KTEP, Public Radio for the Southwest.


Contributor: Kodi R. Jeffery, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.