Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Isopods (Pillbugs, Sowbugs, and Roly polys)

Those in this order are normally referred to as pillbugs, sowbugs, or roly polys. They are mostly nocturnal but during the day are found under rocks, under logs, or in crevices.

Oniscidae (Woodlice, Sowbugs, Pillbugs)
Oniscus asellus European Sowbug

AKA Common Shiny Woodlouse
This family is most closely related to lobster and shrimp. Although they are good at composting, they are also good at eating the roots and foliage of tender seedlings. The difference between Sowbugs and Pillbugs are the tail-like structures on sowbugs. Pillbugs do not have these and I’m not sure what function they serve.

This is a very common, non-native terrestrial crustacean found in almost all of the United States. I find them in my compost pile and appreciate the work they do there! It also is the largest of the Oniscidae.

Check out BugGuide for more info

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