(Reguidit frae Dermaptera)
Temporal range: 208–0 Ma
Late Triassic tae Recent
Earwig on white background.jpg
Female common Horny-gollach, Forficula auricularia
Scientific classification
Kinrick: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Cless: Insecta
Order: Dermaptera
De Geer, 1773
  • Euplecoptera
  • Euplexoptera
  • Forficulida

Dermaptera is an order o beasties wi common names sic as horny-gollachs, eariwigs, clipshears, an forkietails. Ae o the smaaest order o beasties, Dermaptera haes juist ower 2,000 species skared amang 16 faimlies[1][2]. The name Dermaptera means "wings o skin", effeirin tae the striffiny hindwings that fauld in aneath the cutty teuch forewings. Anither kenmerk o the horny-gollachs is the tang-like clippers on the hinder pairt o the abdomen, cried cerci (sing. cercus). Horny-gollachs are kent frae ilka continent less Antarctica[3].

Horny-gollachs are maistly nocturnal, an coorie doun in sma, clammy neuks in the day an snaik about bi nicht, feedin on a hantle o sindry plants an ither beasties. Gairdners an fermers aye faut horny-gollach wi skaith til their flouers an craps.

Afore bein fu-growed, horny-gollachs maun cast their skin five times in ae year. A guid wheen o species o horny-gollach are kent tae hae canny mitherin o the eggs an new-cleckit young--an unco thing tae see in beasties as a hale.[4]

Common namesEedit

That they are aye seen in maist gairdens, horny-gollachs are, an hae syne, been cried a wheen o sindry names. The wird gollach itsel comes frae the Scots Gaelic gobhlag, meanin "a stick wi sindert ends", effeirin til the beastie's kenspeckle cerci.[5] Mair bi taiken, the cleek-shapit cerci hae gart fowk cry the beastie sic names as forkietail an clipshears. The name eariwig (frae the Inglis, earwig) effeirs tae the freit o lang syne that the beastie bigs its bourie in a body's lug an sets its eggs on their harns.[6][7]


Horny-gollachs are fouthie in aa pairts o the warld, but the feck o the 2,000 species bide in the tropics. Whiles, 45 species are kent frae Europe, Great Britain haes juist 7 species (4 hamelt an 3 inbrocht).[8]


Male horny-gollach, outwart morphology. Click on image tae gar mair muckle

The feck o horny-gollachs hae a plat body shape, giein them free scowth aneath the bark o trees, an are 5-50mm lang.[9] The maist muckle horny-gollach iver kent wis Labidura herculeana an coud mak 80mm fu growed. Hamelt tae St Helena, it wis last seen in 1967, an in 2014, the IUCN pit it on the inventar o tint species.[10]

In literaturEedit

A wheen o poems anent horny-gollachs hae been scrievit. A kenspeckle ane in Scots cultur is juist cried "The Horny Gollach" an is bi a unkennt makar[11].

The horny gollach's an awesome beast,
Souple and scaley;
He has twa horns an a hantle o feet
An a forky tailie.

  1. "Dermaptera statistics". dermaptera.speciesfile.org.
  2. "Earwigs | Facts About Earwigs". The RSPB.
  3. Popham, E. J.; Manly, B. F. J. (Juin 1969). "Geographical Distribution of the Dermaptera and the Continental Drift Hypothesis". Nature. 222 (5197): 981–982. doi:10.1038/222981a0.
  4. "Earwigs (Order: Dermaptera) - Amateur Entomologists' Society (AES)". www.amentsoc.org.
  5. "Dictionary of the Scots Language:: SND :: golach".
  6. "earwig | Origin and meaning of earwig by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com (in Inglis).
  7. "Can a Bug Crawl in Your Ear and into Your Brain?". Snopes.com.
  8. "Earwig Research Centre :: The Earwigs of". www.earwigs-online.de.
  9. "Earwigs". The Australian Museum (in Inglis).
  10. Walker, Matt. "World's largest earwig is declared extinct". www.bbc.com (in Inglis).
  11. "Poem: The Horny-Goloch by Anonymous". www.poetrynook.com.