Forceps of Labidura herculeana
alongside a 22 mm earwig Labidura riparia 

This magnificent earwig is (or was) endemic to St Helena. It is shiny black with reddish legs; the elytra are short and the hind wings absent. The animals lived in deep burrows, appearing on the surface only at night after rains. L. herculeana is the world's largest earwig, with body length in some males over 50 mm plus forceps up to 34 mm. The remains of the largest known specimen -a male - were found by Douglas Dorward and Philip Ashmole in 1959 when excavating fossil bird bones; in 1995 we found the forceps of a female during our similar work on Prosperous Bay Plain.
The Giant Earwig has not been seen alive since the 1960s and is probably extinct. However, it has entered into the folklore of St Helena and many people feel intuitively that it is still living out there somewhere. In 1966/67 it was reasonably common, though with distribution limited to a small area including Horse Point. Many were collected 40 at that time and this may have contributed to its disappearance. However, perhaps more fundamental is the destruction of the gumwood forest in which the species evidently lived. Furthermore, if you walk over the northeastern plains and look under stones, you will soon encounter the large introduced centipede Scolopendra morsitans. Although the earwig may have been the dominant invertebrate predator in the forest before 1502, we think that in conflicts between it and the centipede, the latter would have won. Mice are also common in these areas and probably eat earwigs.