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Betta132

Does anyone keep Wharf Roaches, Ligia exotica?

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For those unfamiliar with them, they're a large isopod. They're soft-bodied and get roughly 1" long, not counting a pair of long, jointed antennae on either end. They live along the edges of the water at beaches, especially rocky areas, but they don't actually need or like saltwater. As far as I can tell, they eat detritus and possibly algae. I imagine they could be fed the sort of nori seaweed that you can buy at grocery stores, and they'd probably take some sort of fish food. They can't climb smooth things at all, but they're fairly good at climbing rockwork and wood. They're very hard to catch if they're in among rockwork right at the edge of the waves, but if you find a large overhang somewhere with them living under it, they're very easy to knock off the overhang into a bucket. I've caught them by the dozens, but that was in California, so I couldn't take any home with me.

Anyone ever tried?

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Orin McMonigle has bred that species and may still be keeping them, he wrote about them in his book, "Pillbugs and Other Isopods", which is a great book. He keeps them on sand soaked in artificial salt water, and feeds them dead leaves, algae, and seaweed if I remember correctly.

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Around La Jolla Shores, a bit past the pier. I was there at low tide and found an area where the waves had carved out an overhang about 4 feet high, and there were hundreds of them running around the rockwork. There were at least 5 different kinds of algae in that general area, so I imagine the abundance of food probably contributed. There were also a few running around on the legs of the pier. They seem to like hard surfaces that they can easily climb to escape the water, and I often find them near barnacles whenever I'm anywhere along the gulf.

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