Telephone: 07914 230 963


Bringing the bug world to your world.

More information about woodlice

There are at least 45 different species of woodlouse found in the UK. Only five of these are common Oniscus asellus (the common shiny woodlouse), Porcellio scaber (the common rough woodlouse), Philoscia muscorum (the common striped woodlouse), Trichoniscus pusillus (the common pygmy woodlouse), and Armadillidium vulgare (the common pill bug). Throughout the world more than 5,000 different species of woodlouse are known.

Woodlice are arthropods. This means they belong to the same phylum (group) as arachnids and insects. However woodlice are crustaceans, more closely related to crabs than insects. The body is divided into 3 main parts; the head, the pereion (thorax)and the pleon (abdomen). Arthropod means 'jointed leg'. All invertebrates with jointed legs belong to this group. Woodlice have 7 pairs of legs, one pair per segment.

Woodlice are mainly nocturnal animals. This means that they are more active at night time. During the day they prefer to stay under cover, away from the sunlight. They prefer moist places because broad sunlight causes them to dehydrate quite quickly. They feed mainly on rotting vegetable matter, including wood. They are generally seen as beneficial to gardens, performing a similar role to that of earthworms. However they will also eat fresh plant material and can therefore, sometimes be considered a slight pest.

Woodlice have a pair of antennae to for smelling and feeling and a pair of uropods at the back to help them navigate. Some species use the uropods to produce chemicals to deter predators. There are many animals which eat woodlice, but only spiders of the genus Dysdera eat woodlice exclusively. These spiders are commonly known as woodlouse spiders for this reason.


Return to list