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  Sowbugs - An Overview

The Order Isopoda consists of 100 families and 10,000 species of crustaceans. Most are marine, however, 3,800 species live in terrestrial habitats. They are collectively known as woodlice and have segmented bodies with seven pairs of similarly shaped and sized legs. The female carries the eggs inside a brood pouch, which is located beneath the abdomen. The young are kept in this pouch for a while after they hatch out. Most woodlice favor damp and cool conditions, although some have become adapted to a wide range of habitats, including extremely dry regions. Some woodlice have camouflage coloring that blends in with their background.


The smooth or warty body surface of these woodlice is usually either gray or grayish brown, with various other markings. Some species or Sowbug have narrower bodies and are able to run quickly.

  Life Cycle

The females carry the eggs in their brood pouch until they hatch.


Worldwide, but mainly in temperate regions. Found mostly in leaf litter and debris.


As with all woodlice, nitrogenous wastes are excreted as ammonia gas--not as urine. This gives large colonies of woodlice a characteristic smell.

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