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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/New discovery or normal?


Hello Mr Hintz, I'm hoping you can clarify wether my recent sightings are normal or perhaps a little bit exciting! I have plenty of woodlice and spiders in my garden and recently have noticed some of the woodlice acting like spiders. For example this morning i was moving some plant pots and normally the woodlice just carry on regardless walking about slowly, However these woodlice ran very fast and kept stopping suddenly (like a spider running across the lounge) then one of them took a tumble and seemed to be struggling so i picked it up to help and it got stuck to my finger and on closer inspection i noticed was hanging itself from its own web!? I transferred it back to the ground where i was even more intrigued to see it roll onto its back, curl up and play dead! (similar to house spiders when threatened). I distanced myself then moments later it scurried away. Regretfully i don't have a photo as wanted to know first if what i've seen is a normal occurrance or not. Appearance-wise they look similar to a regular woodlouse but slimmer built and slightly see-through. I look forward to your reply, Many thanks. (S.W England)

Hi Sarah
The term woodlouse includes two separate kinds of isopod, the sowbug and the pillbug. You have come across both kinds in your garden. Pill bugs belong to the Genus because when disturbed they can roll up into a ball. And they do move faster then sowbugs. isopods do not spin silk however so I cannot account for the silk on the one you picked up however unless it had an encounter with a spider called the woodlouse killer.
 When I was a kid I used to play with pillbugs all the time. I have not seen one in years(Among other bugs and insects. Isopods are not bugs by the way

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Walter Hintz


I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.


I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

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