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Pillbugs or Sowbugs


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I always wondered what are there any differances between pillbugs and sowbugs?

Or is it just a locality thing, ya know potatoe potato?

I saw these huge isopods at Orins once, they were differant from normal sowbugs,

Which are kinda flat, the one's Orin had were kinda tall in the body,

Does anybody know what i'm talking about.

Does anybody have these?


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Orin Do you still have these?

Give me a Jingle!

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Terrestrial pill bugs are hard-shelled and roll up. Sow bugs can't and are generally softer-bodied. Most of the terrestrial isopods sold in the hobby are sow bugs.

So our Southern CA rollie-pollies would be pill bugs then, right?

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That helped alot thanks Peter.

I'll have to check out those other ones next week Orin.

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Also, pillbugs don't have visible cerci at the end of the body. Sowbugs' are obvious, like in cockroaches.

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  • 2 months later...

I just started a bin of the orange colorform of Porcellio scaber which are sowbugs, these just freeze in place or play "dead" if disturbed, even allowing themselves to be poked and prodded. Then after I've decided "yup it's dead" it jumps up and takes off like a shot under some leaf litter or egg carton:


They're neat little crustaceans, fun to watch. Very active and inquisitive. I will be using the main colony to seed my new vivariums then I will try to offer some starter groups up for trade later in the year.

I wish I could have some of the giant deep sea Isopods like these :

Bathynomus giganteus

they go from 7" to 30" in size and eat dead whales on the sea floor! So should be easy to keep... LOL

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