Cerci

cerci of an earwig

Cerci are normally borne on the last abdominal segment of insects that bear them. They are sensory organs, acting as tactile or touch receptors. In earwigs (Order Dermaptera), the size and shape of the cerci vary between species and between males and females. Male earwigs commonly have cerci that are curved and pincer-like in structure (shown above), while in females they tend to be straight. Earwigs may use their cerci for defense, capturing prey and sensing the environment.