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Snow White Isopods (Porcellio Laevis)

Snow White Isopods (Porcellio Laevis)

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Snow White isopods or Porcellio laevis are species of terrestrial crustaceans of the Isopoda order. They are known for their striking white light grey colour, which resembles the snow, hence the name 'snow-white'. Their unique and attractive aesthetics stand in contrast to their environment. Due to their striking features and aesthetics, they are more prevalent in the exotic pet and bioactive vivarium communities. 

Snow White Isopods: Outline

  • Origin: Central and South America


  • Scientific Name: Porcellio laevis


  • Maintenance: Low


  • Size: 2cm to 3cm


  • Rarity: Low


  • Temperature:60 to80


  • Humidity: 55% to 75%


  • Favourite Foods: Fruit, vegetables, fish food 


  • Supplements: Cuttlebone (or calcium powder)

Snow White Isopods: Introduction

Snow White Isopods of the Crustaceans order are native to various regions, particularly Central and South America. These little creatures are diurnal. They are highly active during the daytime and are best for those studying nature and activities. 


These speciesare also called clean-up crews. They keep the environment clean by feeding on decaying. Breaking down detritus and maintaining the ecosystem is one of the crucial role played by them.


Like most isopod species, Snow white isopods have an insatiable appetite; thus, they consume anything. Enthusiasts appreciate this as they consume decaying plant matter, fungi, and other organic debris, thus contributing to a healthy environment. When paired with springtails, they keep the bioactive clean.

Snow White Isopods: Characteristics

  • Snow white isopod adults can be 2-3 cm long.


  • They come in transparent white or light grey combinations resembling the colour of snow, hence the name.


  • Their white body makes them visually appealing.


  • Flat body with a smooth white exoskeleton.


  • They are primarily detritivores, i.e. they get nutrition by consuming rotten plants and animals.


  • They have a voracious appetite and eat almost everything.


  • While consuming food, they take their food into their burrows to eat peacefully.


  • These species are diurnal; watching them during the daytime is pretty enjoyable.


  • They are one of the larger isopod species.


  • Due to their large body, they try to dominate over smaller species.


  • They must be paired with other large isopod species as they may consume tiny ones.


  • They are easy to care for and are highly adaptable to the environment they are in.


  • Easy to breed if kept at an optimal temperature.


  • They can be fed anything like fruits, small fish, etc.


  • Easy to maintain and is beginner and child-friendly.

Snow White Isopods: Food and Diet

Snow white isopods are detritivores in nature. People underestimate their appetite, thinking they eat little, but these creatures have a voracious appetite.

Another joint mistake owners also make is overfeeding them. Overfeeding attracts fungus, gnats, mites and fruit flies. Therefore, feeding only enough food that these isopods can finish a single session is crucial.

Snow White isopods are very active; therefore, they require protein and calcium at least two times a week. Cuttlebone, crushed limestone, and eggshells are fed to keep them healthy. Large-sized food like fish and pink mice is given in large colonies. Protein, calcium and vegetables- this rich diet is essential for their health.

Snow White Isopods: Breeding

  • Highly prolific in large colonies
  • Reproduction age starts early. i.e. don't have to grow to its adult stage to reproduce
  • Offsprings develop quickly within 7-8 months.
  • The process involves a mechanism called 'Pouching.'
  • Females carry their eggs in a specialised pouch until they hatch into offspring.
  • They can produce offspring in both natural and captive environments.


Snow White Isopods: Environment Care

Snow white isopods share similarities with other species regarding habitat and care. They thrive in moderate to highly humid environments with proper ventilation systems. Maintaining the substrate with a humidity gradient of wet and dry areas allows them to regulate their hydration level. 

Initially, for these species to get familiar with the enclosure, it is better to keep the Snow White isopods in a small container box. Once they get acquainted with the atmospheric conditions, shift them into a well-ventilated acrylic or glass container. It is essential to have cross ventilations in the enclosure to maintain the ideal temperature for the species to breed.

Additionally, provide various options and substrates for them to burrow deep. Providing wide varieties of decaying organic matter like rotten whitewood, dried leaves, wood bark, sphagnum moss, etc. 

High humidity inside the enclosure often invites unwanted guests like gnats, mites, fruit flies, etc. To prevent unwanted pests and fungus, pairing the species with springtails will keep the environment clean.

Snow White Isopods exhibit excellent health and breeding if kept at an optimal temperature of 60° F to 80° F.

Snow White Isopods: Substrate

Creating an ideal substrate mix for Snow White isopods is crucial. It ensures their well-being, reproduction and overall environmental health. Their habitat has to mimic the natural environment, which includes providing a balance of moisture, organic matter and proper ventilation.

The primary substrate for Snow White isopods consists of a mixture of coco peat, peat moss and organic leaf litter. The coco peat keeps the moisture in the enclosure, maintaining a humid environment, while peat moss contributes to the overall structure of the substrate. They aid in maintaining appropriate moisture levels. These two components provide a suitable habitat for the Snow White Isopods to burrow and explore. 

Organic leaf litter provides food for these species and creates a natural environment. The Bark of the Oak tree and whitewood bark are commonly used as they break down slowly, providing a continuous source of nutrition. This bark also provides the isopods to hide, adding to the terrarium's aesthetics. 

In addition to these primary components, adding a layer of sphagnum moss can enhance moisture retention and create a microclimate within the substrate enclosure. This is crucial for the Snow White isopods, who prefer humid environments. 

Ventilation is necessary to maintain a proper balance in moisture. Regular misting helps to keep the substrate moist. Holes for ventilation are provided to prevent the enclosure from excess humidity. The substrate humidity gradient has to be in a way that it is both damp and dry. 

Protein supplements are necessary for these creatures; therefore, earthworm bits are limestone mixed or calcium supplements mixed with the substrate to ensure their health.

In conclusion, a well-balanced substrate mix constitutes all the above elements that support their physical health and mimic nature, thus encouraging their natural behaviour. This captive environment makes the Snow White isopods thrive in the artificial environment.



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