Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Labidura riparia - Giant Earwig

Range & Status

This insect has always been excessively rare, having been confirmed in just three UK sites; Christchurch (in 1808), Folkestone (in 1870s), and Bournemouth, where the last UK record was made in the early 1930s. A specimen may have been seen on Coxes Cliff SSSI at Branscombe, Devon in the 1980s, but no photograph or specimen was taken.

Regional Distribution

On 28th April 2004, around 5am, a Devon ecologist was sitting just above the high water mark by the tidal debris on the bank of the River Camel east of Wadebridge, when he noticed a large earwig on his trousers. Apart from its large size (c. 3cm long), he was struck by its tawny colour and the straight pincers. Unfortunately, the specimen was not collected, and only later did he appreciate what it was. Following publicity in British Wildlife, a further report was received of an identical insect under a stone near Lizard Point in June 1991, but no photograph or specimen was taken. Searches at both locations have so far proved negative. If either is confirmed, it would be of national significance.

Habitat & Ecology

Little known in the UK, but regarded as a coastal species here, burrowing near the high water mark in white sand. On mainland Europe, it also inhabits sandy river banks, where it makes long tunnels.


None known.


None known.


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.