Re: Another newbie with unidentified insect

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> Was it the same insect in a different stage of
> development or a different  insect?

You probably already know but just forgot that these
aren't insects at all, but crustaceans. While insects have
6 legs (3 pair of thoracic appendages), isopod crustaceans
have 7 pair of leg- like thoracic appendages (pereiopods).
While most crustaceans are marine (crabs, shrimps,
lobsters, copepods, ostracods, barnacles, etc) or at least
aquatic (crayfish, water fleas, etc.)  isopods are unusual
in including terrestrial, aquatic, and marine members. The
majority of isopod species are marine. Species of the
genus Idothea are not uncommonly found in the intertidal
zone along our coasts.

Some people (like me) use the terms sow bugs and pill bugs
more or less interchangably for the terrestrial isopod
species you mention. Others distinguish sow bugs, which
don't roll up into a ball, from pill bugs, which do roll
into a ball. According to Acorn and Sheldon's Bugs of
Washington and Oregon, both sow bugs (Oniscus aselus) and
pill bugs (Armadillidium vulgare) are introduced from
Europe. I find that shocking, considering how abundant
they are in most urban gardens, but come to think of it, I
guess they aren't so common out in the woods.

Paul Talbert
Hillman City, Seattle, WA
tuisto@oz.net


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