Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Ear


Hi Ed,

I am a researcher for the TV show Bones.  I was wondering if I could ask you a quick question?  Would enough earwigs eat human flesh?  Or chew it up?  Obviously on a dead body.


Scott Recchia - Researcher
Bones on FOX

Dear Scott = My apologies for the delay in response, I loaded your question last night before dinner, then forgot that I had done that, and logged off before answering. That aside, my best guess would be 'extremely unlikely'; the only reason I don't say 'No' is that there are so very few absolutes in nature. As you likely are well aware, there are many species of earwigs, with varying dietary habits, but none that I know of would seek out fresh carrion. I suspect that any earwigs found on a corpse before it reached the dry decay stage would be more interested in feeding on other insects found there. If you haven't already checked them out, you might look at some of the links at http://tinyurl.com/n4m5dx9

Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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