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Woodlouse


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Female Common woodlouse (Oniscus asellus)
A Woodlouse (Armadillidium granulatum)
A Woodlouse (Armadillidium granulatum)
The underside of a Woodlouse (Armadillidium vulgaris)
A woodlouse (Armadillidium vulgare)
The woodlouse is not an insect but a crustacean, that has 14 parts to its body, which gives the woodlouse the flexibility to be able to curl into a ball to protect itself from danger. This means that only the hard outer shell of the woodlouse is exposed.

The woodlouse is found in dark, damp places in forests and jungles throughout the world. The woodlouse feeds on decaying leaf and plant matter on the forest floor, meaning that the woodlouse plays a vital role in the natural carbon dioxide cycle.

The woodlouse is generally about 1 cm long but many species in the tropics are triple that size, some are even bigger. The woodlouse has an average lifespan of around 2 years but some are known to get up to 4 years old.

The woodlouse is the only species of crustacean to inhabit inland and not watery habitats. There are thought to be over 3,000 different species of woodlouse around the world.

The woodlouse is generally grey or brown in colour but the exact colour and size of the woodlouse is dependent on the woodlouse species and the area which the woodlouse inhabits. The woodlouse is found in nearly every environment in the world besides the polar regions and the arid desert.

The woodlouse is a herbivorous animal and therefore only eats organic plant matter. The woodlouse rarely eats live plants and feeds on the decaying leaf and plant matter found on the forest floor such as leaves, rotting wood and fruits that fall from the trees above.

Due to the small size of the woodlouse and despite the fact that the woodlouse can attempt to protect itself by curling up into a ball, the woodlouse is preyed upon by a number of animals around the world. Toads, centipedes, spiders, millipedes and the occasional wasp are the main predators of the woodlouse.

The female woodlouse lays around 24 eggs which she keeps inside a brood pouch. The woodlouse eggs hatch after an incubation period of just a few days exposing the woodlouse babies. Due to the fact that the baby woodlice take a number of months to fully develop, the mother woodlouse will often stay close to her young until they are adult woodlice.


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Woodlouse Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things...
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom...
Arthropoda
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum...
Crustacea
Order:
A group of animals within a class...
Isopoda
Family:
A group of animals within an order...
Oniscidea
Common Name:
Most widely used name for the species...
Woodlouse
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species...
Oniscidea
Found:Worldwide
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats...
Herbivore
Size:
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is...
3-30mm (0.1-1.1in)
Number of Species:
The total number of recorded species...
3,000
Average Lifespan:2 years
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct...
Least Concern
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings...
Grey, Black, Brown
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal...
Shell
Favourite Food:Decaying leaf and plant matter,
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives...
Moist environments
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once...
24
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from...
Decaying leaf and plant matter,
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal...
Toads, Centipedes, Spiders
Special Features:Segmented body and can curl into a ball

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