The world’s largest earwig, the St. Helena Giant Earwig, has officially been declared extinct. First discovered in 1798 by a Danish entomologist, the giant earwig could grow up to eight centimeters in length. Since it’s first being described it was actually largely forgotten until new specimens were found in 1913 and 1959. While one of the earwigs hasn’t been spotted since May of 1967, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has only just now declared the species extinct. Scientists believe that the main cause of their disappearance lies with the destruction of their habitat, the giant stones that they lived under on St. Helena Island, by the construction industry. Due to lack of areas of protection scientists also think that they were increasingly eaten by their natural predators such as mice, rats, and invasive insects. The sad story of this underappreciated insect now comes to an end, leaving us with one less bug to squash when we find it in our homes.
Had you ever heard of the St. Helena Giant Earwig? What do you think of insects going extinct?