Rough Woodlouse

woodlouse

Overview

The rough woodlouse Porcellio scaber is a crustacean (isopod) that lives in compost, leaf litter and other moist habitats. Native to Europe, this species has colonized North America.

Identification

This isopod can grow up to .8 inches long and is usually a solid grey color. The body is covered with tubercles. Air tubes are present on the outer plates of the first two abdominal appendages. It is unable to roll up into a ball when disturbed. Instead it runs for cover.

Biology

This isopod prefers vey moist habitats including gardens, cellars, leaf litter, compost piles, rotting logs and under stones. Juveniles are carried ventrally by the females.

Dysdera crocata the woodlouse hunter is a rather large, burly-looking, slow-moving spider often seen in the autumn in basements and other cool areas of homes; presumably they are looking for a winter shelter. This spider only feeds on woodlice.

Control

The best strategy to contol this nusiance pest is to seal cracks in foundations, weather seal under doors and prevent the accumulation of moisture next to the building. Discharging storm water away from a structure and creating ground drainage away will reduce habitat for this species.

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