Is a woodlouse an insect? | Natural History Museum


Whether you call them pill bugs, slaters or
coffin cutters, woodlice are a common sight in homes and gardens They seem like perfectly adapted land dwellers But did they have a watery past? Although they may look like insects, the animal group known as woodlice are actually crustaceans, related to crabs, shrimps and lobsters. They are unique in the fact that they are the only
land-based crustacean. Even though they left aquatic life behind millions of years ago, woodlice still uses their gills to breathe today. They are sometimes called pleopodal
lungs, which are based on the underside of the animal, near their back legs. They use them to draw oxygen from the moisture in the air. That is why you find them living in damp areas, such as under rotting wood and leaves.

6 thoughts on “Is a woodlouse an insect? | Natural History Museum

  1. They might be the only land based crustacean but snails also have an aquatic past in that they are related to the Nautilus and other molluscs…

  2. On the rocks around Criccieth castle North Wales there are large sea living "wood lice" that are the size of your thumb. I have never seen any anywhere else in the world. Did you know about them?

  3. Deserves a much longer video. Talk about the Armadillidium Maculatum or the powder orange isopods. You guys could have pulled a lot more interest.

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