Presenting...Isopod Woodlice

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During a week where we've discussed a new leech with enormous teeth and the prehistoric ancestor to cockroaches, it seems appropriate to present isopod woodlice.

(Wikimedia Commons)

Naturalist Mark Fraser shows us this crustacean, which lives right in most of our backyards.

Mark says it is a true crustacean "just

like a crab or a shrimp."

He admits that woodlice is "not the friendliest sounding name, but it is a harmless

adaptable little species that feeds on decaying plant matter."

"Isopods are a

success story and there are over 4000 species worldwide. They have

adapted to take advantage of the moisture under logs, leaves and compost

piles, allowing them to no longer need to live underwater like the rest

of their family."

Predators who hunt them include birds, centipedes and the infamous woodlice spider.

"So the next time you

flip over a log or some leaves and spot one of these amazing little

creatures," Mark says, "remember they are not insects, but our own backyard

crustaceans."