Earwigs make up a group of insects called "Dermaptera". There are about 2000 species of earwigs, which are characterized by thin back wings that can fold under short, leather-like forewings. Most earwigs grow to between 10-14mm (0.4-0.6in) long, although some species can reach 80mm (3.14in).

All earwigs have three body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. They are usually either dark brown, red, or black, occasionally with stripes on the thorax and abdomen. Earwigs have antennae on their head, which they use for smelling and feeling. Despite having wings, earwigs do not fly often. Instead, they prefer to walk on their six hooked legs.

Earwigs live on all continents except Antarctica. Earwigs usually inhabit damp, shady places, such as under leaves or in fallen trees. They may also be attracted to people's basements or bathrooms.

The scientific name "Dermaptera" is of Greek origin. It stems from the words "derma", meaning skin, and "pteron", meaning wing. The term was coined by Swedish entomologist Charles De Geer in 1773. The name "earwig", on the other hand, is derived from the Old English words "ēare", which means "ear", and "wicga", which means "insect". The name may be a reference to the appearance of the unique hindwings, which resemble a human ear when unfolded.

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