Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Maritime Earwig - (Anisolabis maritima)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 2/11/2014

Maritime Earwigs live by the ocean, but they don't go in the water. They work the coastline, sweeping the sandy beaches for food.

Picture of Maritime Earwig

The habitat of the Maritime Earwig is uncommon for most insects. The close proximity to bays and the coast would be risky considering insects usually drown if they get caught in water. This species does not swim, but it hunts along the wet sand for insects to eat. They hunt at night, walking the beach for small insects, their eggs and any dead arthropods that drifted onshore. It is most often seen in areas around high tide, making it almost seaworthy for an insect.

Females will lay their eggs under driftwood or pieces of bark found on the sand. They guard these burrows and, when the eggs hatch, they feed their young until they reach maturity and leave.

This hardy little insect is active as long as the temperature isn't below freezing. They can tolerate cold that most other insects take shelter or die from.

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Category: Earwig
Common name: Maritime Earwig
Scientific Name: Anisolabis maritima
Other Names: Seaside Earwig

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Dermaptera
      Family: Carcinophoridae
       Genus: Anisolabis
        Species: maritima

Adult Size (Length): 16mm to 25mm (0.63in to 0.98in)

Identifying Colors: brown; orange; black

Additional Descriptors: pincers, segmented

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Florida; California; Maine; Maryland; New Hampshire; New York; New Jersey; North Carolina; Oregon; South Carolina; Virginia; Washington; British Columbia; Ontario; Quebec; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.