The Woodlouse, a.k.a Roly poly

I remember when I was a little kid we used to go camping all the time.  I am not a iPhone generation so we played outside and collected bugs or chased butterflies.  One of my favorite was the Roly-Poly, or better know as the woodlouse.  You could fool people and pretend you had raisins, cuz once you touch them they roll up in little balls and look just like a yummy licorice or raisin. (no I did not eat them) 🙂Now as an adult I get involved in diving and my interest really grew towards conservation and Marine Biology.  What I learned about the Roly-poly was pretty interesting so I put my Marine Science class on it.  Their assignment was to find out as much as possible about this little creature.  Why you ask?  Diving and a woodlouse?  Well did you know the Woodlouse is the only land living creature with GILS??  I bet you did not even think about that!.  This is what the class found out; Enjoy

Woodlouse A.K.A. Land Shrimp

What is a woodlouse?

a small terrestrial crustacean (not an insect) with a grayish segmented body and fourteen legs, living in damp habitats. They are related to shrimp, crab, and lobster.

Where do Woodlice live?

Woodlouse can live in any moist and dark environments all over the world, places such as: garages, under old logs, moist soil, etc. Therefore they are more active at night.

How long do Woodlice live?

Woodlouse can live up to four years but on average they live only 2.

What do woodlice eat?

Woodlouse are herbivores so they do not eat meat, they will mostly eat decaying plants and leaves… And their own poop! 😦

What are the predators of the woodlouse?

The woodlouse have very few predators the few things that eat them are centipedes, toads, and spiders.

How many species of woodlice are there?

Scientists estimate that there are up to 3,000 species of woodlice

What is so special about woodlice?

  • -Woodlice have gills to exchange gases and breath, oddly enough cannot survive submerged in water.
  • -Unlike most animals woodlice do not need to pee
  • -Woodlice can drink with their butts but only if there is something wrong with their mouth (because why not?)
  • -Every time a woodlouse poops it looses copper an essential element the woodlouse needs
  • -Woodlice need moisture because they rapidly lose water by excretion and through their cuticle
  • -If a predator attacks the woodlouse turns into a ball becoming a “tank”japan
  • -Woodlice are parthenogenesis which means it can be born a man but certain bacteria can change the woodlouse     into a female in adulthood
  • -When woodlice eat bird poop they can contract a worm commonly found in bird poop which causes the woodlouse to become a day active zombie
  • -In Japan woodlice are very popular because of the fact that they can roll into a little ball. They even have woodlice merchandise.
  • -Despite being crustaceans like lobsters or crabs, woodlice are said to have an unpleasant taste similar to “strong urine”.
  • -A few woodlice have returned to water. Evolutionary ancient species are amphibious, such as the marine-intertidal sea slater
  • -Woodlice are also consumed readily by many small mammals such as shrews, which may easily consume over 100 per day if they can find them, as well as by many small birds.

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