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Maritime Earwig (Anisolabis maritima)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Maritime Earwig

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Image Credit: Kimberly G. from Florida
Full-sized image of the Maritime-Earwig Thumbnail image of the Maritime-Earwig

Though Maritime Earwigs live by the ocean, they avoid the water, sweeping the coastline for food instead.

Updated: 07/07/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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, any freshly laid insect eggs, and dead arthropods that drift onshore. It is most often seen in areas around high tide, making it almost seaworthy for an insect.

Female Maritime Earwigs 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 is above freezing. It can tolerate a level of cold that most other insects need shelter from or die.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Dermaptera
        Family: Carcinophoridae
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          Genus: Anisolabis
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            Species: maritima
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Anisolabis maritima
Other Name(s): Seaside Earwig
Category: Earwig
Size (Adult; Length): 16mm to 25mm (0.62" to 0.98")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; orange; black
Descriptors: pincers, segmented

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 16mm (0.6in) and 25mm (1.0in)
Lo: 16mm
Md: 20.5mm
Hi: 25mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Maritime Earwig may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Maritime Earwig. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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