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  • Sowbug - (Oniscus spp.)

    Sowbug - (Oniscus spp.)

    Sowbugs go by many other names, but Pillbug or Roly Poly aren't two of them.

    Staff Writer (6/13/2017): Sowbugs are small, crawling Isopods, not insects. They cannot fly and do not sting. They are shaped somewhat like a bean and have many small legs hidden under their segmented armor. The are sometimes likened to a mini-armadillo. Sowbugs, however, do not roll up to protect themselves, like their similar-looking relatives, Pillbugs. To differentiate between the two types of Isodpods, look for two small appendages at the rear end. Sowbugs have them; Pillbugs don't. Sowbugs also have 2 pairs of antennae, though the second set is not easily visible.

    Like Pillbugs, they can be found under stones, large rocks, logs, leaf litter, compost, mulch and wood stacks. In fact, another name for a Sowbug is Woodlouse (plural Woodlice). They scavenge for decomposing organic debris in these areas. It is not unusual to see a few under the same stone or log, all searching for food. They prefer moist areas and will head toward darker, more humid areas if displaced. Infestations are not likely and they are not considered a nuisance. If any find their way indoors, they are unlikely to live long unless they find a damp, cool place. Removing debris and maintaining a dry interior will reduce the likelihood of seeing them inside.

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    Details of the:

    Category: Isopod
    Common name: Sowbug
    Scientific Name: Oniscus spp.
    Other Names: Woodlouse, Woodlice

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Malacostraca
         Order: Isopoda
          Family: Oniscidae
           Genus: Oniscus
            Species: spp.

    Size (Adult, Length): 6mm to 12mm (0.24in to 0.47in)

    Identifying Colors: gray

    Additional Descriptors: armor, plates, armadillo, legs, shell, crawling

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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