many other graden critters, pillbugs have inadvertently been spread
around the world along with imported plants. They are
considered a pest in greenhouses, but cause little damage in most
Here my thumb gives a size clue.
plastic box helps to keep active critters within camera range. A
box is also useful for close observation, as with a hand lens.
This picture clearly shows the "bands" plates which make the
pillbugs exoskeleton resemble the shell of an armadillo (which gives it
its scientific name). Also notice, there are no appendages
showing at the tail end of the pillbug. There are with the
characteristic distinguishing a pillbug from a sowbug, When threatened
the pillbug rolls up into a tight ball. Sowbugs are not able to
roll. This is also why pillbugs are also known
pillbug, just unrolling, shows all seven pairs of legs.
It is an isopod, not an insect. Pillbugs are easy to maintain in
culture for use in lab activities. I once found a culture of
pillbugs in a coffee can which had been misplaced for a couple of
months. It had a tight lid (no air holes), and the only "food"
was damp paper towels. Yet the pillbugs seemed to be doing fine.
[Arthropods] [Animals] [Back Yard Biology] [Science Can Be Fun]