Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Saturday, March 15, 2014

It's About Time March Became Earwig Appreciation Month

St. Helena, an island in the South Atlantic located roughly over 1,200 miles distant from the nearest major landmass (Africa) and 810 from the nearest fellow isle (Ascension) is better known than most places of comparable remoteness: mainly since it served as the place of Napoleon Bonaparte's final exile and eventual death.

As far as I am concerned, the island's principal claim to fame would be the sole home of the world's largest earwig (84 millimeters long including forceps): Labidura herculeana, has not been seen since 1967 and is thus very likely extinct, probably due to the introduction of invasive predators. (Of course.) Construction of the St. Helena International Airport (which commenced in 2012) is no doubt swiftly extirpating whatever population may remain.

This sad event only draws attention to the lack of respect that earwigs (order Dermaptera) commonly receive from Earth's only sentient species. Although it is too late to save the St. Helena giant earwig, I have volunteered to remedy this dearth of appreciation for dermapterans by creating a blog post on their murky evolutionary history (in lieu of petitioning that March be designated Earwig Appreciation Month).

Beware the Ides of March...