Typified names:

Dermatoptera Burmeister 1838

NOMEN: Dermatoptera Burmeister 1838 [H. Burmeister. Handbuch der Entomologie, Bd.2., Abt.2., Hf.1., 1838]

ORIGINAL LISTED MEMBERSHIP (Burmeister 1838): Forficulina

Dumeril 1805
= Placoda Billberg 1820
= Trimera Zetterstedt 1821 (non Dumeril 1805, nec Billberg 1810)
= Eupleõoptera Westwood 1831

= Dermoptera Agassiz 1848
= Harmoptera Fieber 1852
= Euplectoptera Fischer 1853
= Labidura (Burmeister 1838) Haeckel 1866
= ?Pseudo-Orthoptera Thomas 1872

NON-MONOSEMANTIC CIRCUMSCRIPTIONAL SYNONYM (including Diploglossata, with uncertain position of †Protelytroptera and †Archidermaptera):
= Dermaptoria Blatchley 1920

NON-MONOSEMANTIC CIRCUMSCRIPTIONAL SYNONYM (including †Archidermaptera, with uncertain position of †Protelytroptera):

= Dermatopteroidea Martynov 1925

NON-MONOSEMANTIC CIRCUMSCRIPTIONAL SYNONYMS (including †Protelytroptera and †Archidermaptera):

= Dermapteroidea Jeannel 1949

= Dermapteroida Kevan & Knipper 1961

NON-MONOSEMANTIC CIRCUMSCRIPTIONAL SYNONYM (without †Protelytroptera, including †Archidermaptera):

= Brachydermaptera Kluge 2003

NON-MONOSEMANTIC CIRCUMSCRIPTIONAL SYNONYM (without †Archidermaptera, including Diploglossata):

= Neodermaptera Engel 2003


= Holodermaptera Verhoeff 1904

= Dermapterida Pearce 1936

TYPIFIED NAMES IN USE: Forficula (sensu Linnaeus 1758), Forficulariae, Forficulaedes, Forficulidae, Forficularia, Forficulites, Forficulina, Forficulodea, Forficulida, Forficulidi

MODERN STATUS: the valid (while but not the oldest) name of a holophyletic taxon.

Classification of Dermatoptera:

Dermapteroidea, or Dermatoptera s.1 (sensu lato)

  † pm.Protelytroptera

  Brachydermaptera, or Dermatoptera s.2

    † pm.Archidermaptera

    Neodermaptera, or Dermatoptera s.3


      Holodermaptera, or Dermatoptera s.4 (sensu stricto)

The earwig taxon is usually called “Dermaptera”. However, the original circumscription of the name Dermaptera De Geer 1773 does not fit this taxon and encompassed the genera Mantis, Locusta, Acrydium, Gryllus, Blatta, and Forficula with combined circumscription of Raptoriae + Spectra + Saltatoria + Neoblattariae + Dermatoptera. Junior circumscriptional synonym of Dermaptera is Ulonata Fabricius 1775. Later Retzius (1783), who followed De Geer’s classification, renamed the Dermaptera into Hemiptera, and applied the name Dermaptera to true bugs (currently Heteroptera Latreille 1810). Kirby (1813) suggested to apply the name Dermaptera to the order consisting of Forficula only, and it has been used mostly that way ever since, which is inconsistent with the original circumscription, so Dermaptera cannot be used in that sense as a circumscriptional name.

The name Dermatoptera Burmeister 1838, on the other hand, in its original circumscription fits the taxon to which it is applied, and thus can be used as its valid name. The name was first introduced as an emendation of the name Dermaptera, which Burmeister adopted sensu Kirby (i.e. for earwigs), not in its original meaning. Under the circumscriptional rules, an emendated name is considered as a new name with its own authorship, date and original circumscription. The name Eulpexoptera Westwood 1831 was proposed instead of the wrong "Dermaptera" in order to observe circumscriptional principle of nomenclature. The name Dermatoptera Burmeister 1838 was proposed as an emendation of Dermaptera De Geer 1773, but it is not a circumscriptional synonym of the latter.

The name Dermatoptera is not the oldest one among its circumscriptional synonyms, but should be preferred for the following reasons. The name Labidoura Dumeril 1805 and its subsequent emendation Labidura (Dumeril 1805, 1806a, 1806b, Burmeister 1838, Haeckel 1866) should be avoided as hemihomonyms of the valid earwig generic name Labidura Leach 1815. The name Placoda Billberg 1820 was never used outside the original publication. Trimera was applied to two different taxa by Zetterstedt (1821). It was applied by other authors to various taxa with trimerous tarsi — to Auchenorrhyncha (Westwood 1840), to certain taxa among Coleoptera (Dumeril 1806), Copeognatha (Enderlein 1903) etc. The name Eupleõoptera Westwood 1831 and its later emendation Euplectoptera (Westwood 1831, 1839, Fischer 1853) have long fallen into disuse, while its junior homonym Euplectoptera Tillyard 1932 is used for true mayflies (Ephemeroptera s.str.).

All the names listed above as circumscriptional synonyms of Dermatoptera have identical original circumscriptions and would all apply to the same taxon, if only earwig species known at the time had been taken into account. However, the aberrant wingless Hemimerus Walker 1871, the Paleozoic taxon Protelytroptera Tillyard 1931, the Mesozoic family Protodiplatyidae Martynov 1925 and other taxa described thereafter, all clearly related to the true earwigs, did not fit into Dermatoptera as defined based on morphology of previously known members. All these insects, including Protelytroptera, together with the true earwigs, make up a holophyletic taxon, Dermatoptera s.1., or Dermapteroidea Jeannel 1949. Jeannel (1949) cited Dermapteroidea authorship as “Martynov 1925”. However, the name introduced by Martynov (1925) was Dermatopteroidea, not Dermapteroidea; at that time Protelytroptera had not been discovered yet, so the original circumscription of the name Dermatopteroidea Martynov 1925 non-monosemantically fits both Dermapteroidea Jeannel 1949 (which includes Protelytroptera) and Brachydermaptera (which excludes Protelytroptera).

The taxon Dermapteroidea includes the subordinated taxon Dermatoptera s.2, or Brachydermaptera Kluge 2003; 

the Brachydermaptera includes a subordinated taxon Dermatoptera s.3, or Neodermaptera Engel 2003, 

that, in turn, includes the Diploglossata and the true earwigs, i.e. Dermatoptera s.4, or Holodermaptera Verhoeff 1904:

Thus, the name Dermatoptera and its monosemantic circumscriptional synonyms Labidoura, Placoda, Euplekoptera, Euplexoptera, Dermoptera, Harmoptera, and Euplectoptera are non-monosemantic circumscriptional synonyms of the names Dermapteroidea, Brachydermaptera, Neodermaptera and Holodermaptera. On the other hand, the names Dermapteroidea, Brachydermaptera, Neodermaptera, and Holodermaptera are not circumscriptional synonyms and refer to an array of successively subordinated taxa.


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