What Do Earwigs Do With Those Pincers Anyway? | Deep Look

by birtanpublished on August 29, 2020

Thanks to curiosity stream for supporting PBS Digital Studios go down by the shoreline turn over a rock and you're likely to find this a maritime earwig now don't get stuck on their name earwigs are not interested in

Your ear really they just want to hide out and hunt a tiny prey like these sand hoppers their cousins to the common European ear way you might find in your backyard both earwigs wield fearsome looking

Pincers on their rear but why keep them on their backside when most animals bear their weapons up there right for one thing earwigs spend the majority of their lives underground so it's a lot easier to drag those massive pincers

Than to push them scientists call the pincers Searcy they may look like jaws but they're actually modified legs you can find them on the earwigs distant relatives – like cockroaches and crickets male ear waves have curved

Pacers on females they're straight they use them to hunt to defend themselves from predators and to brawl when one male meets another they size each other up if they're evenly matched it's on using

Their pincers they go straight for each other's abdomens it's rarely a duel to the death it's more of a wrestling match usually the bigger one with bigger pincers sends his opponent running the loser scurries off and sulks but size

Isn't everything check out this guy's pincers they're pretty symmetric but this other ones aren't see how one end curves around the other they're lopsided researchers at San

Francisco State University wanted to know if that asymmetry might give some earwigs a competitive advantage so they staged matches between males to see if the shape of those pincers made a difference

And it did when evenly sized earwigs battled those with more asymmetric pincers one more often and winning could mean more territory more food and more access to females scientists at Villanova University wanted to know if

That asymmetry came at a cost now in most animals symmetry is a sign of health it makes them more attractive to potential mates that's why it's pretty rare to find a symmetry in nature but earwigs aren't so superficial the

Asymmetry that helps the male's fight doesn't make them less attractive to mates turns out females don't care if a guy's pincers might be a little crooked curiosity's stream is a subscription streaming service that offers

Documentaries and nonfiction titles from a variety of filmmakers including curiosity stream originals you can learn more at curiosity stream comm slash deep look and use the code deep look during the signup process so what about female

Earwigs they don't go looking for a fight but they will use their pincers to defend their eggs mostly from other hungry females if you like deep look crawl out from under that rock and subscribe see you next time

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