Sunday, May 5, 2013

Common Pillbug

Armadillidium vulgare
Despite the name, the Common Pillbug is not a bug at all. It is actually a Crustacean! They live on land (unlike many of their more well known relatives) and feed on decaying plant matter.

Common Pillbugs are named for their ability to roll up into little balls when they are alarmed. Interestingly, their genus name Armadillidium, is named for another rolly-polly creat
ure-- the Armadillo!

These critters are found in abundance throughout continental Europe and the British Isles. They have also been introduced to parts of North America. They live on land, and hide in dark, moist places during the daytime hours.

Many Crustaceans breed in water, but not these Pillbugs! They actually reproduce on land, and pay their eggs in large sacs. The eggs incubate within those sacs, and tiny juvenile Pillbugs emerge from the sac fully formed.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Europe
Size : Length up to 18mm
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Malacostraca -- Order : Isopoda
Family : Armadillidiidae -- Genus : Armadillidium -- Species : A. vulgare
Image : Folini

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