Roly Poly Irony

pillbugWhat’s the #1 killer of Roly Polies (Armadillidium vulgare)? I’ll give you a few hints… it’s not hungry birds, shoes, or tiny heart attacks.

It’s drowning.

The irony is that Roly Polies are crustaceans (not bugs, millipedes, lice or small organic tanks). Their closest relatives include shrimp and lobster.

Roly Polies like moisture – they retreat to damp areas and burrow underground in case of drought. They roll up as a defense against dehydration (and when you poke them). Ah, the wonders of evolution on land. All this protection against desiccation, but no ability to survive in water.

So now that you know Roly Polies are crustaceans, don’t try to rescue them by putting them back in the sea. We’re about 300 million years too late for that!

SOURCE :Population Characteristics of the Terrestrial Isopod Armadillidium Vulgare in California Grassland by Oscar H. Paris and Frank A. Pitelka
Ecology  Vol. 43, No. 2 (Apr., 1962) , pp. 229-248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1931979

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