Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 1–17

Courtship Roles of Male and Female European Earwigs, Forficula auricularia L. (Dermaptera: Forficulidae), and Sexual Use of Forceps

  • Karen A. Walker
  • Richard D. Fell

DOI: 10.1023/A:1007843227591

Cite this article as:
Walker, K.A. & Fell, R.D. Journal of Insect Behavior (2001) 14: 1. doi:10.1023/A:1007843227591


Detailed observations of the courtship and mating of the European earwig Forficula auricularia revealed a complex of sexual behaviors for both males and females. A sequential analysis of the transition frequencies between male preceding-following behaviors showed that courtship is intricate and nonstereotyped. The significance of the male forceps was demonstrated by their use in early courtship with displays and later use as a tactile stimulus for the female. A study of males from which the forceps had been removed showed no mating by altered males. Male forcep length was bimodally distributed and positively allometric, while female forcep length was normally distributed. Males with longer forceps did not have a mating advantage. Receptive females were behaviorally active during courtship. The possible evolutionary development of the sexual dimorphism of the earwig is discussed.

mating behaviorsexual selectionbody sizecourtshipbehavioral transitions

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen A. Walker
    • 1
  • Richard D. Fell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburg