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Types of Woodlice

Woodlice have more species than any other group of crustaceans. There are over 3,637 species discovered worldwide with some 35 species being native to the UK.

Five types of woodlice are commonly found across the UK and are also known as the ‘famous five’.

Oniscus Asesullus

Oniscus Asesullus

The Oniscus Asesullus also known as the common woodlouse is the most common species of woodlouse found in the UK and the largest. It is commonly found in UK gardens especially under stones, rocks and rotting wood.

Facts

  • Grows to lengths of 16mm and widths of 6mm
  • Shiny brown/grey coloured shell
  • Pale patches often visible on back of shell

Porcellio Scaber

Porcellio Scaber

The Porcellio Scaber also known as the common rough woodlouse is a species of woodlice native to Europe but also found across the UK. They tend to congregate in large numbers which many species tend to pray on (shrews, toads, spiders and birds)

Facts

  • Grows to lengths of 20mm
  • Usually grey colour, sometimes have brown, blue, yellow or pink hues
  • Two pairs of antennae and eyes found on the head
  • Seven pairs of legs corresponding to the seven segments of the thorax

Philoscia Muscorum

Philoscia Muscorum

The Philoscia Muscorum also known as the common striped woodlouse is commonly found in Europe and the British Isles. It has also been found in Washington and other states in New England.

Facts

  • Can grow to lengths of up to 11mm
  • Shiny brown/grey coloured shell
  • Faster than other species of woodlouse due to it’s body being raised naturally higher off the ground
  • Head always very dark in colour

Trichoniscus Pusillus

The Trichoniscus Pusillus also known as the common pygmy woodlouse is commonly found the British Isles. It has been acknowledged to be the most terrestrial ispod in Britain.

Facts

  • Length reaches no more than 5mm
  • Elongated and round body, typically a purplish colour
  • Eyes of three ocelli each

Armadillidum Vulgare

Armadillidum Vulgare

The Armadillidum Vulgarealso known as the common pill bug is a widespread European species of Woodlouse. It is the most extensively investigated isopod species.

Facts

  • Can grow to lengths of up to 18mm
  • Rolls into a ball when disturbed
  • Can withstand drier conditions than other species
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