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Pill Bug

Natural History

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), 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. 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.

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