Adventures with isopods

As we arrived to the Ashley Schiff preserve, we were greeted by a phenomenal naturalist and ecologist Michael Schrimpf. He contrasted the different types of forest seen in the Long Island, NY. This being 100 years old, had dense vegetation as compared to the Pine Barrens. As we were walking through we witnessed dwarf vegetation overshadowed by tall trees mainly Red and White Oak. We also spotted a breathing Great Horned owl. Curious about the wildlife in particularly insects. I posted a picture of it on my iNaturalist app to see what it really is. I have came across “Pill Bug” of order Isopoda. It was a moist cloudy day with rain drizzling over me. It was latched onto one of the dwarf vegetation leaf. The insect measured no longer than a grape between 1 and 2 cm in length. They are oval-shaped and moderately flattened along its dorsal plane and three tagmata.

Armadillidium vulgare is the scientific name and it is also called Pill Bugs, Roly Poly, Slaters, and Woodlice. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, this insect is not on the list.This is great news because this is one list NOTHING wants to be on. This insect is native to the edge of the Mediterranean and has been introduced to nearly all worldwide terrestrial landmasses, with particularly dense populations in temperate climates. Armadillidium vulgare can survive both on land and in damp soil with moist climates. They can commonly be found under pieces of natural debris such as stonisopodes or logs in forests, and in the soil of fields, gardens, or hedgerows. The Ashley schiff is a perfect place for a to thrive because of the damp soil and the moist climate.

There population size increases during the spring season because the weather is usually marked by rainfall and causes the soil to turn moist. Increased temperature during spring time is favorable for their breeding. There population size decreases as the winter approaches. Its function is more like that or earthworm, they are macro decomposers. They are involved in removing nutrients from decaying plants and add them to the soil thereby enhancing the fertility of soil.They are at very low level of food web but very crucial. Overall I think they play a huge role in the ecosystem of the forest because eventually everything is related to dense forest.Increased fertile soil means more trees and vegetation which means more community of animals are supported.

Rashid Samar

Ahmad Ishtiaq


Work Cited

Holland, Asa. “Armadillidium Vulgare (Pillbug).” Animal Diversity Web,

Hornung, E (Hornung, Elisabeth, et al. “Demography of Some Non-Native Isopods (Crustacea, Isopoda, Oniscidea) in a Mid-Atlantic Forest, USA.” ZooKeys, vol. 515, 30 July 2015, pp. 127–143., doi:doi: 10.3897/zookeys.515.9403

Image by Ahmad Ishtiaq

Durand, Sylvine, and Vincent Loiseau. “Producing Offspring in Armadilliduim Vulgare: Effects of Genetic Diversity and Inbreeding.” Shibboleth Authentication Request, Doi-Org.proxy, 1 Mar. 2018,


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