Dictionary > Woodlouse

Woodlouse

Definition
noun, plural: woodlice
Any of the terrestrial isopods that belong to the suborder Oniscidea
Supplement
Isopods belong to the order Isopoda of the subphylum Crustacea. Order Isopoda is comprised of various suborders and one of them is the Oniscidea. Suborder Oniscidea is comprised of different species of woodlice. There are more than 5,000 known species of woodlice that inhabit various terrestrial habitats such as forests, mountains, and deserts. Since woodlice need moisture they usually live under the rocks and logs.
As an isopod, the woodlouse has a body covered with a rigid and segmented exoskeleton, and is divided into three major regions, such as cephalon (head), pereon (thorax), and pleon (abdomen). It has a total of fourteen jointed limbs. Its respiratory organ (called pleopodal lungs) is located in the hind legs (pleopods). Its ecdysis is different from many arthropods. Instead of shedding the cuticle in a single process, it sheds the dorsal side first followed by the ventral side on the second or third day. A woodlouse is nocturnal and a detritus-feeder.
Examples of woodlice species are Armadillidium vulgare (the common pillbug), Porcellio scaber (rough woodlouse), Oniscus asellus (common woodlouse), Ligia exotica (wharf roach), etc.
Scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Subphylum: Crustacea
  • Class: Malacostraca
  • Order: Isopoda
  • Suborder: Oniscidea (Latreille, 1802)

Common name(s):

  • pillbug
  • oniscidean

See also:


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