One of these following facts about woodlice will probably open up your mind and knowledge of how great this animal is. Woodlice (plural) or woodlouse (singular) is a crustacean with a rigid, segmented, long exoskeleton and fourteen jointed limbs. Woodlice form the suborder Oniscidea within the order Isopoda, with over 5,000 known species. To get to know more about this animal, here are some other facts about woodlice you may like to know better.
Facts about woodlice 1: Defensive Mechanism
Woodlice in the genus Armadillidium can roll up into an almost perfect sphere as a defensive mechanism, hence some of the common names such as pill bug or roly-poly. Most woodlice, however, cannot do this.
Facts about woodlice 2: Common Names
Common names for woodlice vary throughout the English-speaking world. A number of common names make reference to the fact that some species of woodlice can roll up into a ball. Other names compare the woodlouse to a pig.
Facts about woodlice 3: Moulting
The woodlouse has a shell-like exoskeleton, which it must progressively shed as it grows. The moult takes place in two stages; the back half is lost first, followed two or three days later by the front. This method of moulting is different from that of most arthropods, which shed their cuticle in a single process.
Facts about woodlice 4: Giving Birth
A female woodlouse will keep fertilized eggs in a marsupium on the underside of her body until they hatch into small, white offspring. The mother then appears to “give birth” to her offspring. Females are also capable of reproducing asexually.
Facts about woodlice 5: Ecology
Though today found worldwide, woodlouse populations in the Americas arrived from Europe by sea alongside humans.
Facts about woodlice 6: Habitat
Living in a terrestrial environment, woodlice breathe through trachea-like lungs in their paddle-shaped hind legs (pleopods), called pleopodal lungs. Woodlice need moisture because they rapidly lose water by excretion and through their cuticle and so are usually found in damp, dark places.
Facts about woodlice 7: Predators
Woodlice are eaten by a wide range of insectivores, but the only animals known to prey exclusively on woodlice are spiders of the genus Dysdera, such as the woodlouse spider Dysdera crocata.
Facts about woodlice 8: Feed
Although woodlice, like earthworms, are generally considered beneficial in gardens for their role in producing compost and overturning the soil, they have also been known to feed on cultivated plants, such as ripening strawberries and tender seedlings.
Facts about woodlice 9: Pests
Woodlice can also invade homes en masse in search of moisture and their presence can indicate dampness problems. However, they are not generally regarded as a serious household pest as they do not spread disease and do not damage wood or structures.
Facts about woodlice 10: British Isles
There are over 45 native or naturalised species of woodlouse in the British Isles, ranging in colour and in size (3–30 millimetres or 0.1–1.2 inches).
Hope you found these woodlice facts really interesting and useful for your knowledge and research.