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Nathant's Isopod/Woodlice Journal

journal isopods woodlice

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#1 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted December 27 2016 - 1:51 PM

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   I'm starting to raise cultures of various insects from my yard. They are mostly experimental, and are just tests, and I'll eventually be able to succesfully raise them in captivity as I test my experiments in my secret lab :P . I'll be doing a journal on these Woodlice/Pillbugs/Roly-polies, whatever name you want to call them. I have not narrowed down the genus or species, I'll do some research later. This journal will likely last a while, as I will probably use different habitats and conduct different experiments.

 

   I decided to use a Tupperware container with about 2-3 inches deep of wood shavings, a bit wetted, a browning piece of Timothy hay, and a piece of apple wood in case they want to nest under it. They looked to be pretty calm in it. They don't seem to be able to climb plastic, but my mother would freak if I kept the lid open. I will perhaps find some dead leaves or molding dirt tomorrow for them to eat, yum! I then moved them into the basement, where it stays cool. I hope there are both males and females so they can breed. There are about 7 or 8 of them. I'll go looking for some more tomorrow, if it isn't too cold. 

 

 

Here is the habitat as a whole:

 

IMG_2432_zpspbejq5qw.jpg

IMG_2431_zpswc68uhwk.jpg

 

   They don't move very much. They look darker than they actually are becuase of the camera. They actually glow a dirty yellow in the sunlight. They look beautiful. Lol, that one on the top looks like he's having a fun time.  :D  

 

   I will post updates as soon as something happens. I do not have high hopes for this setup, but I will see how it works. Like I said, experimental! Thanks for checking this out!  :)



#2 Offline T.C. - Posted December 27 2016 - 2:16 PM

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Isopod's is one of the many insects species I keep in my collection. They are super fun because of how quick they reproduce and they are easy to feed. I am waiting to see what your Isopod habitat looks like. :)


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#3 Offline Connectimyrmex - Posted December 27 2016 - 3:10 PM

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Nice that you are keeping Isopods! They are the most interesting crustaceans ever! :D

 

Also, nice username :)

 

similar to mine


Hawaiiant (Ben)

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#4 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted December 27 2016 - 3:25 PM

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Isopod's is one of the many insects species I keep in my collection. They are super fun because of how quick they reproduce and they are easy to feed. I am waiting to see what your Isopod habitat looks like. :)


Yup, just thrown in anything dead and moldy haha.

#5 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted December 27 2016 - 3:27 PM

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Nice that you are keeping Isopods! They are the most interesting crustaceans ever! :D
 
Also, nice username :)
 
similar to mine



Yes I noticed we had the same username idea!

#6 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted December 27 2016 - 4:10 PM

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Would anyone perhaps think feeding rabbit feces be a good idea? That might sound like an extremely stupid question.

#7 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted December 28 2016 - 8:01 AM

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Update 12/28/16

 

   I went outside today and found 4 more Pillbugs. Couldn't find many becuase it was cold and kind of dry :cold: . 3 looked to be the same species as all the others, while one is a lot bigger and is gray instead of the usual glowy yellow of the others. I believe it is a different species.

 

IMG_2436_zpsus2vqxal.jpg  

New species. (left) You can see the yellow coloring that I explained in the last update. (right) Can anyone identify these species for me?

 

IMG_2438_zpst3brnrr6.jpg  

I poured all of them in. The new species was very sporatic, checking everything out. I also placed a piece of rabbit poop, a small piece of a crunchy brown leaf, and poured some water underneath the piece of apple wood for some humidity/moisture. They seemed to have been avoiding unerneath the wood. I hope they start breeding. No deaths yet, hurray!  :yahoo:

 

Any help on Isopods is welcome. I will post updates as soon as something happens. Thanks!  :bye:


Edited by Nathant2131, December 28 2016 - 6:19 PM.


#8 Offline Kevin - Posted December 28 2016 - 1:01 PM

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Sorry for the weird captions, something wacko happened with the picture format.  :P

You need to add a space between the picture and text, that usually solves the problem for me.

{Picture}
 

Text


Hit "Like This" if it helped.


#9 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted December 28 2016 - 2:24 PM

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Sorry for the weird captions, something wacko happened with the picture format.  :P

You need to add a space between the picture and text, that usually solves the problem for me.
{Picture}
 
Text

Ok thanks Kevin!

#10 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted December 28 2016 - 4:36 PM

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 Update 12/28/16 (2)

 

 I went over to my grandmother's and caught 13 of what looks like that new species, and 1 of what looks like the yellow species. Needless to say, I poured them in the setup. I did some revamps as well: I added a more attracting piece of wood, with perfect cracks for hiding. I also removed the yucky rabbit poo poo, added a piece of lettuce, then added some water for more humidity and moisture. I have never seen them eating anything, however.

 

IMG_2440_zpsb6onzmvo.jpg

 

   Most of them are hiding behind the wood (top left), or under the wood shavings. They all seem healthy and there has been no deaths!

 

IMG_2441_zpsoh1tm61v.jpg

 

   Here is where they all tend to hide. Perhaps this is where the most ideal humidity and moisture is at.

 

   I am starting to get more and more confident on this setup. It seems not to have a problem so far although I am not sure if anything else is wrong or out of place, as I admittingly do not know much about Woodlice. I don't not expect them to mate anytime soon as it is winter here in Massachusetts, although I'm not sure if they mate year-round or certain times of the year. I also don't know any of the species I am keeping, nor know if it is ok to merge more than one species together. Temperature as well. All I know is they like cool places. Only time and research will tell, I guess. It would be cool to expand my knowledge from Myrmecology to Entomology, although ants DO have a special place in my heart. Thanks for reading this journal everyone, and any help, big or small, is well appreciated! Thank you!  :bye:

 

   Population Size: 21-22


Edited by Nathant2131, December 28 2016 - 6:17 PM.


#11 Offline dermy - Posted December 28 2016 - 5:58 PM

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Ah sowbugs, [not pillbugs those roll up] I remember I used to have a culture of these, I used them as a sort of composting system. They really like cucumbers and melon stuff. Just make sure you bury the food so you are less likely to get fruit flies.

 

Also if you forget to water them they dry out and you loose a culture that had 200+ in it....... :boohoo:


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#12 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted December 28 2016 - 6:06 PM

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Ah sowbugs, [not pillbugs those roll up] I remember I used to have a culture of these, I used them as a sort of composting system. They really like cucumbers and melon stuff. Just make sure you bury the food so you are less likely to get fruit flies.

 

Also if you forget to water them they dry out and you loose a culture that had 200+ in it....... :boohoo:

   I added a couple soaked cotton balls into the habitat a couple hours ago and I'm going to get a spray bottle, so I hope that is enough. I will start to bury the food. Thanks for the recommendation!  :)



#13 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted December 29 2016 - 7:18 AM

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Update 12/29/16

 

   I was afraid they were not getting enough humdity and moisture, so I added 2 water-soaked cotton balls into the enclosure last night. When I checked on them this morning, lots of them were crowding and hiding under one of the cotton balls, so I added another two since it seemed they were pretty desperate. Good thing I thought about that, they may not have been getting enough humidity. I also will be getting a spray bottle so I can distribute water evenly on the substrate instead of pouring it with a cup.

 

IMG_2445_zpsg2lhouqx.jpg

 

   Like I said, most are hiding under the cotton ball on the right. A few are also still hanging out in that area at the top right, but you can't see many as they like burying themselves in the wood shavings. They don't go inside the wood, just bask on it sometimes. They also are noticeably more active. Sometimes one will just randomly start speeding around the place. They are funny to watch. Perhaps that is becuase they are getting proper humidity.

 

IMG_2446_zpsiah9zzyv.jpg

 

   Camera shy? :D  Lol. I'm happy I thought of the cotton ball idea.

 

   Overall, I think I'm not doing bad. As long as I care for them every day and keep providing them food and water, and maybe a habitat cleanup every once in a while, they will survive well.( I DO have a 1.5 gallon fish tank just sitting around ;) ) I suppose it will  be a while before they start breeding, but that's fine as that will give me space to continue research on more of their needs. Thank you for reading and help is appreciated! :)

 

Population Size: 21-22

 

 



#14 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted January 11 2017 - 2:02 PM

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Update 1/11/17

 

   Oh my lord, So much has happened ever since the last update. Well, the tupperware setup started to get noticeably scattered with feces, so I moved them into another sort of bug container thing. I didn't like the amount of space they were getting, so I moved them into the 1.5 gal fish tank (Kinda was inevitable to happen) a few days ago and man, they absolutely love it in there. They are also in my room now, where it is much warmer.

 

IMG_2465_zpstytu5fpj.jpg

 

  I call the top, the foraging area, "The Field." I weirdly enough do not place their food there, just for dumping new pillbugs in (just caught 4x Philoscia muscorum today). There is almost never any action there, but strangely enough, that is where they all go when they die (1 Oniscus asselus and 1 Philoscia muscorum has deceased) Almost all Woodlice are always grouped up at "Home Base", The little space to the left of the wood, below the two stacked and soaked cotton balls. The humidity there is perfect, with little bubble clouds forming. They bask on the side of the wood, where there is a sort of cave that they like staying in. Cool thing is, none of the area is hard to see and I can see every nook and cranny of the place. I call the top of the wood "The Balcony", where I place all food. You may have noticed the two raw oats and the Galileo Ant Feeder filled with Sunburst Ant Nectar. I have only seen one pillbug (species Philoscia muscorum, I'll tell you about the whole species thing later) stick his/her head in it, but still decided to keep it there. The oats on the other hand, I started out with 6 and they have already completely devoured 4 of them! It was a big hit for them so I suppose that will be one of their main food sources. They even started to drag and push the oats into Home Base to feed from there. I call the right foraging area to the right of the wood "The Alley." I call it that becuase I also have seen almost no action there, so it kind of creates this shady aura I suppose. It also is a little bit narrow, like an alley in the city.  :P

 

  Here are some pics of Home Base:

 

IMG_2460_zpspcizymtl.jpg

 

IMG_2461_zpsu9h9jrpy.jpg

 

IMG_2463_zpst2ql7r0x.jpg

 

   There are still always a few of them on the cotton balls, but they are no longer swarming them, asumming that is becuase I have met a stable humidity and moisture criteria. When I open the aquarium lid, I can literally feel the heat and humidity radiating from the habitat, and the whole glass panels are covered with clouds. This is not a problem however, since the clouds disapear within a few seconds after I open the lid.

 

   I have finally found out the species of my pillbugs, though in an ugly manner. The small, dirty yellow pillbugs that I always gush over is Philoscia muscorum (There is around 16 of them).  I personally find that these are the most common in my area, and are very easy to recognize. Ok, now this is where it starts getting bumpy: There are two other species, Oniscus asselus and Porcellio scaber, but I find it difficult to tell a lot of them apart. They are both gray. So for this reason whenever I refer to a gray species, I'll call them Oniscus cf. asselus since I can still tell they are the more dominant gray species despite the confusion. (the rest is around 15)

 

   Sadly, there has been two confirmed deaths. One is Oniscus cf. asselus, and the other is around Philoscia muscorum. I think this is becuase I may have handled them too rough when I moved them, but other than that it could be just natural, and reached an old age. I am not let down by this as I have been doing so well otherwise, and I don't think their causes of death were becuase they were not provided something they needed, just something natural or a silly mistake. Though they are getting a bit moldy, I have decided to let them break down naturally. I avoid artificial help whenever I can, besides food, water and cleaning. No signs of breeding have been seen, BTW.

 

   Thank you for reading this big long update, everyone!  :bye:

 

Population Size: 27-32 (Did a recount and noticed there was more than I thought)



#15 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted January 13 2017 - 10:57 AM

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I have a really cool idea for a sort of wood nesting thing, sort of like a formicarium. I may try it myself and see how it works.

#16 Offline antgenius123 - Posted January 13 2017 - 11:07 AM

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Looks good. Good luck


P.S. It's a good idea to hydrate daily.


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#17 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted January 13 2017 - 2:26 PM

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Looks good. Good luck
P.S. It's a good idea to hydrate daily.


Yeah, I really need to get a spray bottle or something for the substrate. They seem to be doing fine on the cotton balls for now, Home Base is cloudy with moisture.

#18 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted January 13 2017 - 2:29 PM

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Looks good. Good luck
P.S. It's a good idea to hydrate daily.


Yeah, I really need to get a spray bottle or something for the substrate. They seem to be doing fine on the cotton balls for now, Home Base is cloudy with moisture.

#19 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted January 13 2017 - 4:14 PM

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Update 1/13/17

 

   No too much update-wise, but I'm going to showcase a buch of ideas I'm planning on or might plan on.

   

   Alright here's how they're doing first: I added two wet cotton balls to either corner of The Field. Still no action there though.  :lol: I also provided an oat piece of a Lucky Charm. I haven't seen anything go for it yet, but it's only been a few hours. Also, I caught 2 more Philoscia muscorum, and one seems to be doing fine, but the other has not moved since introducing him/her. I'm afraid it's dead. Other than that, not much has changed that is worth talking about.

 

IMG_2482_zpsirujdvbx.jpg

 

   The two new cotton balls.

 

IMG_2472_zpsvk5ptfui.jpg

 

   They are doing well. (Home Base)

 

   I have a lot of plans and other info I've read up about yesterday. The first is color morphs. I'll explain it: As one species breeds over time, their color may change. For example: I caught 2x Porcellio scaber maybe with barely noticable orange dots, if the ones with the dots breed the orange color will intensify, sometimes even enough to look like this:

 

om_orange_isopods.jpg

 

   (I'm not sure that is P. scaber, but whatever  :lol: )

 

   So anyways, point being is that I might try isolating my pillbugs with different color characteristics to intensify colors, becuase that is just really cool! I also heard Porcellio scaber is the best for playing around with colors, so I may try to find those more often. I see a lot of them in forests under dead logs. I also may start to seperate each species from each other becuase after some reading, apparently it doesn't turn out that good usually. I may get more fish tanks.

 

   I also found out how to tell P. scaber and O. asselus apart, but I still need a bit of practice, especially the young ones who haven't developed much of a skirting yet (those white/brown flakes surrounding some of the gray species)

 

   I have an idea for a sort of wood hiding place. I'm gonna get a block of wood and drill tunnels in it, but they will be right up against the glass so I can see everything. Like a formicarium. Just a thought.

 

   Finally, substrate. Though they seem to be doing perfectly fine in the wood shavings, I am going to try coconut fiber substrate, once again after some reading.

 

   Thanks for reading, everyone!  :)

 

Population Size: 28-33

 

 


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