Have you been smitten with Isopod Insanity? Then look no further because we’ve got an assortment of cute, carapaced critters to calm your chitin cluttered mind. Not sure what the hubbub is about? Take a dive with us as we explore the unbearably adorable world of isopods.
Isopods are crustaceans that have rigid, segmented exoskeletons, two pairs of antennae, seven pairs of jointed limbs on the thorax, and five pairs of branching appendages on the abdomen that are used in respiration. You’ve likely encountered them under the names woodlice or roly poly but were you aware that there are over 10,000 species worldwide; half of which live on land? Their cute little carcass is made of chitin which is the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature behind cellulose. But don’t go eating these sweet little treats! Terrestrial isopods play an important role in many tropical and temperate ecosystems by aiding in the decomposition of plant material and by enhancing the activity of microbes. Instead, we recommend collecting these cuddly crustaceans as they’re highly variable in color and size. Here are a few favorite adorable arthropods:
Porcellio laevis “Dairy Cow”: As the name implies, these big beauties are white and black spotted and grow fairly large, between .5-.75 inches. Easy to keep, these casual cuties will establish quickly in your terrarium or vivarium.
Porcellio laevis “Laevis Orange”: Colored like a Colorado sunset, these dusky orange darlings top out at .75 inches. Just like you and I “Laevis Orange” like to spend most of their time on or at the surface of the soil. We think they just like our attention.
Porcellio scaber “Orange Dalmatian”: Full grown at .5 inches, these Isos are like a mobile orange Julius with orange blotching and speckling on a white base. They can live for 2-3 years and tolerate a wide range of environments making them fantastic no fuss friends.
Porcellio scaber “Dalmatian”: A joy to watch mature, these Isos start their lives as pure white nymphs and develop black blotching and speckling patterns as the get older. They’re most happy in warm, semi-moist environments.
Porcellionides pruinosus “Oreo Crumble”: If you’re under the impression that Isos are boring then this pied blue morph is the one for you. Not only do these medium sized sweetie pies grow and reproduce quickly, they also move quickly. Isopod racing anyone?