Because pill bugs are arthopods, they molt their hard exoskeletons as they grow. But since the roly-poly's shell is in two parts, the back half falls off first and the front half falls off several days later. If you find one that is half pink, it means it has recently molted the first half of its exoskeleton."}},"@type": "Question","name": "Where are roly-polies from?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "Most species are native to the Mediterranean, but a few species have found their way around the world, generally as hitchhikers in the plant trade. A. vulgare, for example, was introduced to New England in the early 19th century and can now be found throughout much of North America.","@type": "Question","name": "Why do roly-polies live on land?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "Roly-polies are crustaceans that breathe with gills, so why do they live on land? They reportedly became terrestrial between 200 and 60 million years ago. There's barely any research on why the species abandoned water, and what little has been researched turned up inconclusive.","@type": "Question","name": "Are roly-polies good for your garden?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "Roly-polies are composting machines that help accelerate the decomposition process. But while they're great for the compost heap, they can do some damage to young plants.","@type": "Question","name": "Why do roly-polies roll into a ball?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "Roly-polies will roll into a ball if they feel threatened or if their gills are drying out. The spherical shape helps them maintain gill moisture."]}]}] MenuHomeSustainability for All. Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest SubscribeSearchCloseSearch the siteGO News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Environment Planet Earth Climate Crisis Pollution Recycling & Waste Natural Disasters Transportation Eco Terms A to Z Home & Garden Home Natural Cleaning Green Living Sustainable Eating Garden Planting Guides Indoor Gardening Urban Farms Science Space Natural Science Technology Agriculture Energy Policy Corporate Responsibility Environmental Policy Economics Food Issues Eco-Design Tiny Homes Architecture Interior Design Green Design Urban Design Animals Wildlife Pets Animal Rights Endangered Species More Clean Beauty Culture About UsNewsEnvironment
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Because pill bugs are arthopods, they molt their hard exoskeletons as they grow. But since the roly-poly's shell is in two parts, the back half falls off first and the front half falls off several days later. If you find one that is half pink, it means it has recently molted the first half of its exoskeleton.
Many people confuse sow bugs and pill bugs since they look similar at first glance. Sowbugs are slightly smaller than pill bugs and have two small tail-like structures protruded from their back end that pill bugs lack. Sowbugs also cannot roll into a ball as a roly-poly can. Both enjoy similar diets and habits, so you might have one, the other, or both.
Armadillidium vulgare, the roly-poly, is originally from the Mediterranean and has spread and can be found basically all over the world. It is most common in temperate climates. The bugs live in forests, fields, gardens, suburban and urban areas. They live in areas that are moist, with temperatures that are not too hot or cold, and with little light. You can find them under rocks or logs, or burrowed in the soil, thriving wherever humans are.
The pillbug, Armadillidium vulgare (Latreille), is an isopod, a type of non-insect arthropod also known as a terrestrial crustacean. It is sometimes called a roly-poly due to its ability to roll into ball when disturbed (Figure 1). This defensive behavior also makes it look like a pill, which is why it is sometimes known as a pillbug. The name woodlouse is used for both pillbugs and sowbugs in Europe and refers to where these arthropods are found, such as under logs. Pillbugs are nocturnal, though they may be found during the day in the soil or under debris. They are mainly beneficial in the garden or landscape, but can become occasional pests if they wander indoors.
(English pronunciations of roly-poly from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus and from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary, both sources Cambridge University Press)
On our walks to school lately the girls have been spotting roly-polies, lots of them! After the third day of collecting them and releasing them my first grader asked if we could make a home for them and learn more about them. Well of course we can! Over the next few days we made a roly-poly habitat and learn more about these little bugs!
After school my first grader read the activity guide in A Little Bit of Dirt and then used the free printable observation sheet I made to gather the materials for her roly-poly habitat. After building her habitat we did a little extra research to learn more about roly-polies.
Their cousins range from crabs, shrimps, and lobsters to woodlice, pillbugs and roly-polys, which feed on decaying matter and are familiar to anyone who has lifted up a rock or dug around in the garden. 041b061a72