|The Pill Bug (also called the wood louse
and the roly-poly bug) is not an insect, it is an isopod (an arthropod
in the same class as crabs, shrimp and crayfish). Pill bugs are covered
by a hard exoskeleton (also called the cuticle) made from chitin. They
have three basic body parts, the head (which is fused to the first
segment of the thorax), the thorax (the 7 segments of the thorax that
are not fused to the head are called the pereon),
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. Pill bugs are less than an inch long.
The Pill Bug's main form of
protection is to roll into an armored ball.
Pill Bugs are found throughout the world. They prefer
moist areas, often living in soil and under decaying leaves, rocks, and
dead logs. A pill bug begins its life as a tiny egg. The young pill bug
looks almost like a miniature adult. As it grows, it molts (sheds its
old, outgrown exoskeleton) 4 to 5 times. Pill bugs eat decaying plants
and animals and some living plants. Pill bugs are eaten by many animals.