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OhNoNotAgain's Isopod Intro & Journal


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#1 Offline OhNoNotAgain - Posted October 14 2020 - 1:34 PM

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I don't know how often I'll update this journal, but oh well, here are some isopods. Isopods are what got me started back into keeping small terrestrial arthropods (in 2019), which led me back to ants, which got me here.

 

I just took these photos today to show current status.

 

A note on some common genera of pet isopods (and we all know isopods are crustaceans, right?): 

 

Armadillidium are the genus encompassing some of the most common pillbugs, the "roly poly" of toddler fame. They can roll up into a ball, some better than others.

 

Porcellio seem to fall into two general categories speaking purely in the pet trade: tough, protein-hungry Porcellio (e.g. laevis, scaber), and larger Spanish Porcellio ("giant Porcellio") who prefer dry conditions and are known for mate-guarding by males and some extra maternal care of mancae (such as keeping mancae (babies) in a hole and bringing food to them). While many isopod keepers have laevis and scaber, I don't have any (except for 1 stowaway scaber). I generally keep the larger Spanish variants, as below. Porcellio are not "pillbugs" as they cannot roll up. They are more in the "sowbug" category.

 

Cubaris are gaining fame for having many beautiful and unusual species, most without scientific names, and most hailing from Southeast Asia, and many having odd names like "rubbery ducky" "white tiger" "green laser" and so on. I don't have any of those (yet); I only have the very common, native-to-lots-of-places Cubaris murina. They came free with an order of something else. Cubaris are easily identifiable as they have little "tail lights" on their butts. They can roll up to some degree or other.

 

There are many other pet trade genera like Oniscus, Trichorhina (includes dwarf whites), Armadillo, Porcellionides (includes powder orange and powder blue), etc., but I don't have those. I do have Venezillo, which were, as with the Cubaris, a freebie.

 

Isopods should generally always be kept with springtails, who act as CUC (clean up crew) for them. Springtails eat moldy leftovers and are cute and harmless.

 

Keeping isopods is NOT like keeping ants; they are less maintenance, easier to feed (calcium, leaves, wood, occasional protein and vegetables), and IMHO are not quite as interesting to watch for long periods of time. It's more like watching sheep grazing. On the OTHER hand, they breed. You can get colonies of them with second, third generations thriving in basically a box of dirt, do line-breeding to isolate colors, and otherwise easily keep a box of colorful dirt shrimp year-round without the fuss and muss of ants. If you're observant you might observe parental care of mancae by some species, too.

 

 

Armadillidium granulatum. Underrated yellow-spotted isopods.

They had a huge population boom last year, but a sudden die-off recently. I think things got too dry for them. Some granulatum have very subtle, small yellow spots, but the ones I was sent happened to be bright and colorful. I like these more than the variants that have tiny spots (I mean, even the common A. vulgare can have some pretty spots).

 

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Armadillidium gestroi. Native to Italy. Brilliant yellow spots contrasting with the darker carapace. If I had to keep just one Armadillidium, these are probably the ones I'd keep, just for the stunning colors.

 

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Porcellio haasi. The colors are a bit like gestroi, but these are a Spanish Porcellio; they like dry conditions and are known to exhibit maternal care of mancae. These are fairly young.

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Armadillidium klugii, the clown isopod. Once rare in the pet trade, these are famous for their colors. They are the reason many people started collecting isopods.

 

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Armadillidium vulgare var. "Orange Vigor." Vulgare are one of the most common species in the world, having spread from their native Europe to backyards everywhere as the familiar grayish "roly poly" or "pillbug," and some have naturally occurring or line-bred variations, like these. These are mostly juveniles.

 

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Cubaris murina. While many rare Cubaris such as rubber duckies have a fussy reputation, murina are native to the US and these guys are both TOUGH and prolific. Bonus: they can roll up. This photo does not show the signature Cubaris "tail lights" very well, but it's pretty unmistakable.

 

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Armadillidium maculatum, the "zebra isopod." Newer variants with yellow striping or brown instead of black ("chocolate") are all the rage.

 

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Porcellio hoffmannseggi. I accidentally killed off my first colony. These are two survivors from a smaller group of replacements. These newer ones are more mellow than the previous ones, but they are notoriously hard to breed. They generally breed only once or twice a year.

 

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Porcellio ornatus "high yellow." P. ornatus are known for being active and not very shy, and these high yellow variants are more showy than typical ornatus.

 

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Armadillidium nasatum "peach." These kind of peach-colored nasatum (normal nasatum are gray) are prolific and hardy and can be invasive.

 

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Venezillo parvus. These are very small isopods that some say can work as CUC, much like dwarf white or dwarf purples. They are colorful, as seen here, and like their larger Armadillidium and Cubaris relatives, they can roll up. When I first got them I didn't see them for months. They are tiny and shy and it wasn't til the mancae grew up that I started seeing them on the surface, like these:

 

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Edited by OhNoNotAgain, October 14 2020 - 2:19 PM.

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Formiculture Journals::

Veromessor pergandei, andrei; Novomessor cockerelli

Camponotus fragilis; also separate journal: Camponotus sansabeanus, vicinus, quercicola

Liometopum occidentale;  Prenolepis imparis; Myrmecocystus mexicanus

Pogonomyrmex subnitidus and previously californicus

Tetramorium sp.

Termites: Zootermopsis angusticollis

 

Isopods: A. gestroi, granulatum, kluugi, maculatum, vulgare; C. murina; P. hoffmannseggi, P. haasi, P. ornatus; V. parvus

Spoods: Phidippus sp.


#2 Online ANTdrew - Posted October 14 2020 - 3:16 PM

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Really cool!

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25   I <3 tiny ants


#3 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted October 15 2020 - 6:05 AM

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wish we have cool colored isopods here.


Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. -Proverbs 6: 6-8

My Journal Here

My Shop Here

Attention Ant-Keepers in South Dakota! Join the SoDak(Society Of Dakotan Ant Keepers)

Learn about our website AntsDakota, and help us develop and publish it!

Join our Discord, where you can discuss your anting ideas in peace!


#4 Offline OhNoNotAgain - Posted October 16 2020 - 8:29 AM

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wish we have cool colored isopods here.

 

Actually even some backyard Armadillidium vulgare can have some unusually bright patterning or color variations. I believe that's how the Magic Potion line of A. vulgare was isolated twice, in America(?) and Japan. Here's a reddit link so you can see what someone accomplished:

https://www.reddit.c...e_have_smaller/

 

But yeah, some of the coolest natural patterns are either from Europe or Asia.


  • Ants_Dakota likes this

Formiculture Journals::

Veromessor pergandei, andrei; Novomessor cockerelli

Camponotus fragilis; also separate journal: Camponotus sansabeanus, vicinus, quercicola

Liometopum occidentale;  Prenolepis imparis; Myrmecocystus mexicanus

Pogonomyrmex subnitidus and previously californicus

Tetramorium sp.

Termites: Zootermopsis angusticollis

 

Isopods: A. gestroi, granulatum, kluugi, maculatum, vulgare; C. murina; P. hoffmannseggi, P. haasi, P. ornatus; V. parvus

Spoods: Phidippus sp.


#5 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted October 16 2020 - 8:32 AM

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ok, i think i might follow this more closely. i have collected some of those isopod in my backyard, and i might want to breed them.


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Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. -Proverbs 6: 6-8

My Journal Here

My Shop Here

Attention Ant-Keepers in South Dakota! Join the SoDak(Society Of Dakotan Ant Keepers)

Learn about our website AntsDakota, and help us develop and publish it!

Join our Discord, where you can discuss your anting ideas in peace!


#6 Offline OhNoNotAgain - Posted October 16 2020 - 12:40 PM

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If you seriously start getting interested, here's an excellent care guide written by an expert isopod keeper and seller (and one of the admins in maybe the biggest FB group).

 

https://www.smug-bug.com/services


Edited by OhNoNotAgain, October 16 2020 - 12:50 PM.

  • Ants_Dakota likes this

Formiculture Journals::

Veromessor pergandei, andrei; Novomessor cockerelli

Camponotus fragilis; also separate journal: Camponotus sansabeanus, vicinus, quercicola

Liometopum occidentale;  Prenolepis imparis; Myrmecocystus mexicanus

Pogonomyrmex subnitidus and previously californicus

Tetramorium sp.

Termites: Zootermopsis angusticollis

 

Isopods: A. gestroi, granulatum, kluugi, maculatum, vulgare; C. murina; P. hoffmannseggi, P. haasi, P. ornatus; V. parvus

Spoods: Phidippus sp.


#7 Offline ponerinecat - Posted October 17 2020 - 9:00 AM

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ok, i think i might follow this more closely. i have collected some of those isopod in my backyard, and i might want to breed them.

I can't think of a single area in the US without interesting isopods. While the northeast might be temperate and not exactly isopod rich, there's still plenty of species that look nice, like armadillidium nasatum or porcellio spinicornis and oniscus asselus. And as before, even A. vulgare can have interesting colors. Heres one I found a few days ago.

 

Attached File  CSC_3092.JPG   1.43MB   0 downloads


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#8 Offline Solenoqueen - Posted October 18 2020 - 12:23 AM

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I believe that the difficulty of culturing giant "Spanish" Porcellio sp. is vastly blown out of proportion. Though they do reproduce seasonally, if one pays heed to moisture and ventilation requirements, they're pretty easy to care for. 

Personally, having kept and successfully bred P. magnificus, P. hoffmanseggi, P. flavomarginatus, and P. sp. "Morocco", I find that giving them a lot of space, a hefty amount of cross ventilation, hides, and a designated moist moss spot do the trick. 


haha ant queen go brr


#9 Offline OhNoNotAgain - Posted October 18 2020 - 10:44 AM

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I believe that the difficulty of culturing giant "Spanish" Porcellio sp. is vastly blown out of proportion. Though they do reproduce seasonally, if one pays heed to moisture and ventilation requirements, they're pretty easy to care for. 

Personally, having kept and successfully bred P. magnificus, P. hoffmanseggi, P. flavomarginatus, and P. sp. "Morocco", I find that giving them a lot of space, a hefty amount of cross ventilation, hides, and a designated moist moss spot do the trick. 

 

Oh yeah, I did get my hoffs to breed last year and they were doing well; I know I screwed it up when I accidentally killed them off. THAT said, they can't compare to C. murina in terms of surviving adverse conditions. (Heck, my Armadillidium can't compare to C. murina in that regard.)


Formiculture Journals::

Veromessor pergandei, andrei; Novomessor cockerelli

Camponotus fragilis; also separate journal: Camponotus sansabeanus, vicinus, quercicola

Liometopum occidentale;  Prenolepis imparis; Myrmecocystus mexicanus

Pogonomyrmex subnitidus and previously californicus

Tetramorium sp.

Termites: Zootermopsis angusticollis

 

Isopods: A. gestroi, granulatum, kluugi, maculatum, vulgare; C. murina; P. hoffmannseggi, P. haasi, P. ornatus; V. parvus

Spoods: Phidippus sp.





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