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Pill Bug Facts

  • Scientific Name: Armadillilium vulgare
  • Nicknames: Wood louse or roly-poly bug, as they are known for this ability to roll into a ball. They are also often called potato bugs.
  • Location: Pill bugs are common invertebrates that are found in many biomes around the world, including temperate forests, rainforests, and grasslands.
  • Size: Pill bugs are less than an inch long

Pill Bug Appearance and Behavior

The pill bug is a small, segmented land creature that is covered by a hard exoskeleton shell that looks like armor. They have three basic body parts; the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. 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. Many animals eat pill bugs and the main protection for the pill bug is rolling into a tiny armored ball, earning them the nickname “roly-poly.”

The pill bug is not an insect but is an isopod. They are more closely related to shrimp and crayfish than to insects and are the only crustacean that has adapted to living their entire life on land. They prefer moist areas, often living in soil and under decaying leaves, rocks, and dead logs. Pill bugs mostly eat decaying vegetable material like vegetables.

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