Abundance, interannual variation and potential pest predator role of two co-occurring earwig species in citrus canopies

C. Romeu-Dalmau, X. Espadaler, J. Piñol

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Earwigs are usually considered pest predators in orchards. Because of its worldwide distribution, most research on earwigs focuses on the European earwig Forficula auricularia Linnaeus (Insecta: Dermaptera: Forficulidae). However, very little is known of this species in Mediterranean citrus orchards. Earwigs and aphids were collected monthly during 5years (2006-2010) from citrus canopies. Two species of earwigs were found: F. auricularia and Forficula pubescens Gené (=Guanchia pubescens), with the latter seldom cited in the literature. The goals of this study were (i) to document the abundance of these two earwig species in Mediterranean citrus canopies; (ii) to determine whether they are positively or negatively associated with each other, or randomly distributed; (iii) to measure the interannual variation of the abundance of both species during a 5-year period and (iv) to evaluate the potential role of earwigs as pest predators in citrus canopies. As compared to colder regions, F. auricularia active period in citrus canopies in our study site lasted longer. Both species co-occurred randomly in canopies. In 2006, both species showed approximately the same abundance, but in 2010, F. pubescens abundance in canopies was 28 times greater than that of F. auricularia. The potential role of earwigs as pest predators is higher in the Mediterranean than in other colder regions, because of the longer active period. F. auricularia is a sedentary generalist predator, already present in citrus canopies at the onset of most pest outbreaks, while F. pubescens arrived later to the canopies, but most likely was abundant enough to contribute in the control of citrus pests. © 2011 Blackwell Verlag, GmbH.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-509
JournalJournal of Applied Entomology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012


  • Aphids
  • Biological control
  • Forficula auricularia
  • Forficula pubescens
  • Guanchia pubescens
  • Interspecific association
  • Mediterranean


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