Currently viewing the category: "Sow Bugs, Pill Bugs, Isopods, Lawn Shrimp and Amphipods"

an aquatic lawn shrimp?
Wed, May 6, 2009 at 3:11 PM
hi, i have found these swimmers in a stray cat’s drinking bowl that someone has set up in the woods, not far from a busy road. ill take it as the bowl is never dumped out if these lived in them. fortunately i had a big ziploc bag and collected the specimen, and was kind enough to wash their bowl and poured bottled water in it, and was greeted by two grateful beautiful longhaired cats. i was able to collect 11 of them but some died in transit, i placed the little guys in my fishtank and its been a few hours and theyre still okay. i took pictures and a couple videos with my fujifilm camera aided with a 10x triplet magnifier with the intent to send in the photos here, i am actually surprised that on the frontpage was a photo of dead lawn shrimps and they looked very similar to what i have found, except i found my little guys a live and swimming in a kitty bowl.
dogafin
pensacola, fl

Freshwater Shrimp

Freshwater Shrimp

Dear dogafin,
Your observation that your specimens resembled the Lawn Shrimp was quite astute. We are certain that your specimens are also Crustaceans, quite possibly Freshwater Shrimp in the genus Gammarus. Gammarus and Lawn Shrimp are both in the order Amphipoda. We located a fishing website that has information on Gammarus which are also known as Scuds. The The Backyard Arthropod Project A Field Guide to the North Side of Old Mill Hill, Atlantic Mine, MI also has some good information. We might be way off base here with the genus ID because the location was so odd. We can only guess that at one point the cat bowl was filled with water from a pond inhabited by the Crustaceans. We gladly welcome a professional identification on this somewhat odd sighting.

Freshwater Shrimp

Fri, May 8, 2009 at 6:34 AM
Dear WTB,
I’ve worked on benthos of the Great Lakes and inland lakes in Michigan for close to ten years now and have seen a few amphipods in that time. From these pictures its difficult to say much more than an amphipod. If there’s a pond or lake near by its possible that these could, at the very least, be in the family gammaridae but the could also be Hyallela. The way to determine this is to see if there are accessory flagella (small segmented appendage) on the 4th segment of the first (top pair) of antennae. If there’s no flagellum its Hyallela; if there is a flagellum its more likely to be Gammarus or at least in the family gammaridae.
carterg,
Ann Arbor, MI

Bug cult found dead on kitchen floor.
Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 3:54 AM
I went into my kitchen earlier today and saw brown spots on my floor, I lean in to see what it was. Hundreds of dead bugs lay on my kitchen floor all dead like some kind of bug cult that just drank the cool aid.
I have no idea what kind of bugs these are, they kind of look like little roaches, maybe bed bugs, I dunno.
It was just after a pretty big storm, also I have a punching bag that I brought in before the storm and am hoping they didnt some how come from that…
Geoffrey
Houston, Texas

Lawn Shrimp

Lawn Shrimp

Hi Geoffrey,
We have decided that your highly entertaining and descriptive letter and photo of Lawn Shrimp will be our featured Bug of the Month for May. Lawn Shrimp are terrestrial amphipods, an order of Crustaceans. They live in ivy, shrubbery and fallen leaves and go virtually unnoticed until it rains, at which time they enter homes and die in great numbers. They are also called House Hoppers and are in the family Talitridae. According to Charles Hogue in his book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, the species found in Los Angeles, and quite possibly Houston, is Talistroides sylvaticus. They are gray while alive and turn pink or orange after dying.

small brown crustacean in house
Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 10:39 PM
I live in Southern CA and we’ve had heavy rain the last few days. Since this morning we are finding small brown bugs that look like a crustacean and kind of like a maggot. They are in the front rooms of the house and on the front patio. Could they be from the rain and what are they? The picture attached is from the web, but the look almost identical. Thanks
Lauren
in house in Southern CA

Lawn Shrimp

Lawn Shrimp

Hi Lauren,
What a wonderful photo of Arcitalitrus sylvaticus, a Lawn Shrimp, according to BugGuide, or House Hopper, according to Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin.  According to BugGuide:  “These are rarely seen except when flooding or lack of moisture forces them to abandon their home in the soil in search for suitable conditions. At such times they often end up dieing on pavement or in homes and become a nuisance. Once they start appearing, there’s not much that can be done except to sweep them up- pesticides are pointless, because by then they’re already dieing or dead. The best solution is to keep the numbers down the rest of the year by keeping the soil from staying too moist- in California, especially, they’re a sign of overwatering. Physical barriers like weather-stripping can also help to keep them out of homes, but their bodies are flat and narrow, allowing them to slip through surprisingly narrow cracks. ”

Slaters Nutrition
Sun, Nov 2, 2008 at 1:08 AM
Hi There
Do slaters have omega 3 fatty acids
I’m planning for peak oil
Edward
Tasmania

Slater

Slater

Hi Edward,
We believe David Gracer would be better qualified to answer your questions about the nutritional value of a Slater or Sea Louse, a Marine Isopod. We can’t help but wonder if you are contemplating an appearance on the television series Survivor or just planning for a global disaster with the accompanying food shortage.

Greetings,
Yes, I’ve eaten these guys, and theyíre not bad. I can’t speak to individual species [I never keyed mine out], but there ís a history of documentation on the consumption of woodlice, rolly-pollies, pillbugs, and sowbugs, all of which are terrestrial isopods like this one here. Holt discussed them briefly in his landmark 1885 ìWhy Not Eat Insects?î According the English folk medicine belief in the doctrine of signatures, these isopods were used as medicine because some species rolled into a pill shape. Despite its own disclaimer, this URL features a few recipes.
http://www.geocities.com/~gregmck/woodlice/recipes.htm
Next year I may well farm these ëbugsí in a fishtank environment, and try these preparations for myself.
Best,
Dave

Pill bugs
I was looking at your site and noticed the bit about Rolly Pollys. Growing up in New Orleans, we always called them Doodle Bugs. I have since moved to Birmingham, AL and they call them Rolly Pollys. Just thought you might like to have that for your knowledge base.
Kevin

Thanks Kevin,
We have always associated the common name Doodle Bug with the Ant Lion Larvae.

blue sow bug
I just wanted to know if a blue sow bug is rare? Or why it is blue. I thought it was very pretty looking.
Thank you,
Melissa

Hi Melissa,
Our guess on this, and we must emphasize the guess part, is that your Pill Bug might be freshly molted and has still not darkened to gray.

Update: (04/28/2007) blue wood lice dear folks
in regard to the blue woodlouse you posted: it is infected with an iridovirus. here is a link to a page with more woodlouse information– http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/7649/woodlice/wliceod.htm although these little blue guys are pretty–the first time i saw one, i thought it was a lapis bead and tried to pick it up; boy was i surprised when it uncurled!–they are, unfortunately, on their way to being compost. thanks for all your good bug work!
patty

Hi Patty,
Thank you so much for a most awesome update, correction and link to information.