Pillbugs

Pillbugs (Armadillidium vulgare)

Pill BugTwo rolled up pillbugs

 

Identification:

Pillbugs (also called roly pollies) are dark brown/grey and have overlapping plates that form protective armor. They roll up into balls when threatened.  They have antennae that protrude from their heads and 7 pairs of legs. 

Habitat:

Pillbugs can be found under mulch, leaf litter, and rocks. They are nocturnal (most active at night) and require damp and dark conditions. They also form burrows under the soil.

Overview:

Pillbugs are detrivores (debris eaters), so they are important for breaking down organic matter. They also provide food for spiders, centipedes, ground beetles, and small mammals.

Fun Fact: 

After hatching, young pillbugs go through a marsupium phase where they can stay in their mother's belly pouch and gain nourishment through her marsupial fluid.

Pillbugs are more closely related to crustaceans than they are to true insects.

Sources:

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/MISC/Armadillidium_vulgare.htm

https://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/casefile/relatives/sowbugs/sowbug.htm

Image Sources: 

https://nhpbs.org/wild/isopoda.asp

https://extension.unh.edu/resource/pillbugs-interactive-investigation-an...