Isopods are a type of crustacean that are sometimes referred to as woodlice or pillbugs. They are found throughout the world in a variety of habitats, from deserts to rainforests, and they play an important role in the ecosystem.
Isopods are small, typically less than an inch in length, and have a flattened, segmented body with seven pairs of legs. They are best known for their ability to roll up into a tight ball when threatened, which provides them with protection from predators.
There are over 10,000 known species of isopods, and they are classified into several different groups based on their physical characteristics. Some of the most commonly known types of isopods include:
- 1. Pillbugs: This group of isopods is typically found in damp areas, such as under rocks or in leaf litter. They have a smooth, oval-shaped body and are generally dark in colour.
- Sowbugs: Similar in appearance to pillbugs, sowbugs can be found in similar environments. They have a more flattened body and are often lighter in colour.
- Giant isopods: These are some of the largest types of isopods, reaching up to two feet in length. They are typically found in the deeper regions of the ocean.
- Beach hoppers: Also known as sand hoppers or sand fleas, these isopods can be found on sandy beaches worldwide. They are typically small and have elongated bodies.
- Woodlice: This group of isopods is found in wooded areas and can often be found under logs or in decaying wood. They have a more elongated body shape and are generally brown or grey in colour.
- Water slaters: These isopods are found in freshwater environments and can often be found in streams or rivers. They have a flattened body and are typically brown or black in colour.
- Fish lice: Not to be confused with the parasitic lice that can infect fish, these isopods are actually a type of crustacean that can be found in marine environments. They are typically very small and can be found on a variety of fish species.
Overall, isopods are a fascinating and varied group of creatures that play an important role in many different ecosystems. Whether you're exploring a freshwater stream or digging in your garden, there's a good chance you'll encounter one of these fascinating creatures.