Subject: Bright Orange Woodlouse
Location: Missouri, United States
March 20, 2015 11:49 am
during my searches for various bugs and critters I’ve come across a total of three of these bright orange woodlice. I have a large plastic tub full of woodlice that I feed and observe, so the three I’ve found are part of my little ecosystem now.
what I’m wondering is, is this a rare genetic coloration of some sort? or a different species of woodlouse than the gray ones? perhaps neither and it’s something else, so I thought I’d ask you!
Long ago we fielded a question about a Blue Sowbug and we learned it was infected with an Iridovirus which caused the coloration. We found a similar question posted to BugGuide, but there is no response other than that it is identified as the European Sowbug, Oniscus asellus. On the Woodlice Oddities Page, it states: “Orange Porcellio scaber This orange form appears to be rare in this region. The example here is the only one found in a collection of over 400 from the same compost heap – it is also the only one, of two, that I have observed over the last 10 years. The red forms of woodlice are genetically determined but their rarity suggests that this form is not as well adapted to the habitat as the darker gray forms.” On Terrain.net it states: “The Orange woodlice is a rare colour form the the common slater Porcellio scaber.” On BugGuide we learned that Porcellio scaber is a synonym for Oniscus granulatus.