A woodlouse (woodlice) is an isopod crustacean in the suborder Oniscidea of the order Isopoda. Their name comes from the fact that they are often found in old wood.
It is thought that the first woodlice were marine isopods that moved to land in the Carboniferous, even though the oldest fossils we have are from the Cretaceous. They have many common names, and even though they are often called “terrestrial isopods,” some species live in a semi-terrestrial environment or have moved back into the water.
Armadillidium vulgare is the name of the wood louse in the scientific world. Little armadillo is what the Latin word Armadillidium means. This is about the hard shell that this crustacean has. They are part of the Isopoda Order and the Armadillidiidae Family. There are over 3,500 different kinds of woodlouse.
These are some types of woodlice such as Armadillidium pictum, Armadillidium granulatum, Armadillidium nasatum, Armadillidium lagrecai, and Armadillidium depressum
Appearance: What Does Woodlouse Look Like?
So, now you know what is a woodlouse? The shell of a woodlouse is dark grey or black. Its exoskeleton, which is made of seven plates and looks like armor, is one of its most well-known parts. This little creature has two legs on each of the seven plates, for a total of 14 legs. Its body ranges in length from 0.7mm to 18mm and is about 5mm wide. This crustacean’s head has two small antennae.
Sea slaters are crustaceans that look a lot like woodlice. The sea slater has the same flat, dark body with a hard, segmented exoskeleton. But at three centimeters long, a sea slater is bigger than a woodlouse.
At the first sign of danger, a woodlouse’s main defense is to roll up into a ball. This is how it protects its most important parts from being eaten. It can also make a chemical in its body that smells bad and keeps its enemies away. Also, this crustacean’s grey or black color helps it blend in with its dark, wet environment.
This creature only lives for two to three years, so its way of protecting itself must work! Groups of woodlice are common. If you look in a compost pile or move a rock in a garden, you’re likely to see dozens of wood lice. Each of these creatures is called a “woodlouse.” Wood lice are those with two or more of them. A colony is a group of these crustaceans.
Habitat: Where Do Woodlice Live?
One of the most interesting things about woodlice is that they live everywhere except Antarctica. Thus, they live in places that range from temperate to tropical. This crustacean is often found in gardens. Moreover, you can also find woodlice and their eggs under leaf piles, rocks, downed trees, and in the soil. Furthermore, it lives in dark places with a lot of moisture.
Woodlice can sometimes get into homes, especially if there is a good place for them to live nearby. Thus, imagine a bunch of woodlice living in a pile of rotting wood next to a house wall. So, it wouldn’t be strange if a few woodlice sometimes found their way into the house. They would only live somewhere if there was mold.
Diet: What Do Woodlouses Eat?
Most of the time, a woodlouse eats plant matter. But scientists put it in the category of a detritivore because of what it eats. The word “detritivore” comes from the word “detritus.” Detritus is anything in the environment that is breaking down or rotting.
What does a woodlouse eat? A woodlouse eats things like rotting leaves, mold, fungi, and even the droppings of other animals. So, now you know why they are called detritivores.
What eats a woodlouse? Frogs, shrews, centipedes, and spiders are among the animals that eat woodlice. All of these animals that eat woodlice live in the same place as the woodlice. Because their shells aren’t as strong, these animals are even more likely to eat young woodlice.
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If you see one or two woodlice in your house, don’t worry about them at all. But if you see a lot of them, including little woodlice, it could mean that they are eating mold or mildew in your home. If there is water damage to the ceiling or floor, you may have some rotting wood.
So, what would a woodlouse prefer? When you fix the damage, woodlice will have no reason to stay in your home. They’d prefer to be in your garden.
What Is A Woodlouse?
A woodlouse is a crustacean that lives on land. This crustacean lives on land. A marine crustacean, like a lobster, is one that lives in the water. Moreover, a woodlouse is about 10 mm long and 5 mm wide on average. A wood louse baby is smaller than a grain of rice.
During a woodlouse’s life cycle, it loses its shell or exoskeleton. So, the word for this is “molting.” Molting is something that many animals, like spiders, birds, and lizards, do as part of their life cycle. This is how a wood louse’s shell gets new cells and gets darker as it grows.
The environment depends on these tiny crustaceans a lot. Moreover, when they eat things that are breaking down on the ground, they add nutrients to the soil. The soil gets better because of this.
How Do I Get Rid Of Woodlice?
Woodlice are important to the ecosystem because they help keep the soil healthy. But if you wish to get rid of these animals, you could take them away from where they live. Woodlice will leave your house if you get rid of any rotting wood.
If you don’t like woodlice in your garden, get rid of any large rocks, stumps, or piles of wood that could provide shelter for them.
Are Woodlice Harmful?
These small animals are not dangerous. Moreover, they don’t sting, bite, or spread diseases, and they don’t do any damage to things. Another good thing is that they don’t want our food. Many animals love to eat these tiny crustaceans, and so do people in some parts of the world.
Where Do Woodlice Usually Live?
Woodlice like to hide in dark, damp places, like behind walls, under rocks, and in compost piles. Moreover, some animals, like the common sea slater, only live near the coast. A woodlice has 14 legs and an exoskeleton, which is its hard shell.
Are Woodlice And Pill Bugs The Same Thing?
Yes. A pill bug and a wood louse are the same things. This crustacean is called a “woodlouse” by its real name. One of its many names is “pill bug.” It gets its name because it can curl up into a ball that looks like a pill.
What Causes Woodlice In A House?
Woodlice typically colonize a home when there is wet or rotting wood present. They thrive off of damp, moldy things.
Do Woodlice Bite?
These lice are not dangerous in any way, as there are no clear cases of bites. A woodlouse will curl up into a ball if someone disturbs it and will stay that way until it decides it is safe to move again.
Is A Woodlouse A Bug?
The closest relatives of woodlice bug are crabs and shrimps, despite their appearance as insects.
Do Woodlice Carry Disease?
There is nothing to worry when woodlice bites you because they are completely non-threatening.
Do Woodlice Cause Damage In The House?
You may argue that having them around is better for the garden than not having them at all. Nonetheless, a wood lice infestation in the home can severely destroy wood items like furniture and floors.
Do Woodlice Lay Eggs?
Several pillbug species can roll up into a tight ball when you threaten them. Eggs laid by female woodlice are incubated inside her body until they hatch the following spring. The female woodlouse has a brood pouch on her underbelly, where the young, namely mancas, stay for a few days before venturing off on their own.
Parvaiz Yousuf is a senior SEO writer and editor with an experience of over 6 years, who also doubles up as a researcher. With an MSc zoology degree under his belt and possessing complete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge, he works as a science journalist for a US-based website and Asian Scientist (A Singapore-based magazine). He also works as Director of Wetland Research Centre, Wildlife Conservation Fund YPJK since 2018. Besides, he has several publications to his name on cancer biology and biochemistry in some reputed journals such as Nature & International Journal of Molecular Sciences, & magazines such as Science Reporter, BUCEROS BNHS, and has an abiding interest in ornithology. He also worked as a Research Associate for JK Policy Institute.