Earwigs make up the insectorderDermaptera, found throughout the Americas, Africa,Eurasia, Australia and New Zealand. With about 2,000 species in 12 families, they are one of the smaller insect orders. Earwigs have characteristic cerci, a pair of forcepspincers on their abdomen, and membranous wings folded underneath short forewings, hence the scientific order name, "skin wings." Some groups are tiny parasites on mammals and lack the typical pincers. Earwigs rarely use their flying ability. Most earwigs are nocturnal and inhabit small crevices, living in small amounts of debris, in various forms such as bark and fallen logs. Species have been found to be blind and living in caves, or cavernicolous; reported to be found on the island of Hawaii and in South Africa. Food typically consist of a wide array of living and dead plant and animal matter. For protection from predators, the speciesDoru taeniatum of earwigs can squirt foul-smelling yellow liquid in the form of jets from scent glands on the dorsal side of the third and fourth abdominal segment. It aims the discharges by revolving the abdomen, a maneuver that enables it simultaneously to use its pincers in defense.
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