You are here: Life > Land invertebrates > Woodlice

Woodlice

A woodlouse or pill bug, curling up into a ball. Woodlice are small crustaceansarthropods with a hard, segmented exoskeleton, known as a cuticle, and two pairs of antennae. Woodlice have seven pairs of legs. They live in cool, damp places and eat dead vegetation. Some kinds of woodlouse, known as pill bugs, curl up into an almost perfectly spherical ball when they are threatened.


Lifestyle

Woodlice rapidly lose water from their bodies, and so they are usually found in damp places where there is always moisture, such as under rocks and logs. Most species are nocturnal and feed on dead plant matter.
A woodlouse moultingThe woodlouse must shed, or moult, its shell-like cuticle as it grows, which it does in two stages. The female woodlouse carries her eggs in a pouch on the underside of her body, until they hatch out into tiny babies.
The spiky yellow woodlouse is found only on the tiny island of St Helena in the Atlantic Ocean. It lives high up in the mountains...Read More >>The spiky yellow woodlouse is found only on the tiny island of St Helena in the Atlantic Ocean. It lives high up in the mountains on plants that grow only on this particular island. There is no other woodlouse like it anywhere else in the world.

Spiky yellow

Woodlice are crustaceans, like crabs, so they breathe through gills—which is why they live only in damp conditions. Their gills are normally on their abdomens.

WHY IS IT COLD
AT THE TOP OF MOUNTAINS?


Find the answer