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.

Labia minor - Lesser Earwig

Range & Status

Nationally much less frequent than in the days of horse drawn vehicles, when manure heaps were common everywhere. However, recent searches indicate that it may be widespread, even numerous, in and around farms and riding stables, as far north as the Highlands.

Regional Distribution

100 years ago this was undoubtedly a common insect throughout Cornwall. In the last 25 years there have been just three Cornish records. It is probably much under-recorded, as few would wish to delve deeply into dung heaps! The most recent record was at St. Wenn, where there was a very active colony in a damaged compost bin; a more genteel habitat for the squeamish to investigate.

Habitat & Ecology

Found in manure heaps and compost bins. The adults fly freely in hot weather, by day and night, and this tiny earwig (little larger than an ant) has been attracted to the MV lights of moth recorders.


Excessive farm hygiene.


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.