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Pill Bug: An Isopod
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The pill bug (also called the wood louse and the roly-poly bug) is a small, segmented land creature that can roll into a tiny ball for protection. The pill bug is NOT an insect, but is an isopod (another type of arthropod).

Habitat and Distribution: Pill bugs are common invertebrates that are found in many biomes around the world, including temperate forests, rainforests, and grasslands. They prefer moist areas, often living in soil and under decaying leaves, rocks, and dead logs.

Life Cycle: A pill bug begins its life as a tiny egg. The young pill bug looks almost like a miniature adult. As it grows, it molts (sheds its old, outgrown exoskeleton) 4 to 5 times.

Anatomy: Pill bugs are covered by a hard exoskeleton (also called the cuticle) made from chitin. They have three basic body parts, the head (which is fused to the first segment of the thorax), the thorax (the 7 segments of the thorax that are not fused to the head are called the pereon), and the abdomen (which is also called the pleon). Pill bugs have 7 pairs of jointed legs and 2 pairs of antennae (but one pair is barely visible). The antennae, mouth and eyes are located on the head. A pair of abdominal uropods are at the posterior end of the pill bug, but only the terminal exopods are visible from the top of the pill bug. Pill bugs are less than an inch long.

Diet: Pill bugs eat decaying plants and animals and some living plants.

Predators: Pill bugs are eaten by many animals. Their main protection is rolling into an armored ball.

Classification: Kingdom Animalia (animals), Phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Crustacea, Class Malacostraca, Order Isopoda (isopods), Family Armadillidiidae, Genus Armadillidium, Oniscus, etc. Many species, including A. vulgare (the common pillbug).



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