These pages are designed to give
information about the structure, behaviour and adaptations of woodlice.
There are four common species of woodlice
found in metropolitan regions of New Zealand. They are Porcellio scaber, Armadillidium
vulgare, Porcellio pruinosus and Eluma purpurascens. It is
relatively easy to distinguish between these species. There are also numerous native
species found in native forest areas.
Porcellio scaber is the species used in our studies. This species is
generally a grayish colour and has a head with three "lobes". P.pruinosis
does not have an obviously lobed head and the posterior portions of the dorsal plates are
not hook shaped as in p.scaber. When disturbed, both Eluma purpurascens
and Armadillidium vulgare roll into a ball shape for protection. In the USA Armadillidium
species are sometimes referred to as pill-bugs, non-rolling species may be referred to as
E.purpurascens can be distinguished form A.vulgare by
observing the eyes. E.purpurascens has a single eye, and tends to be pinkish in
colour, whereas A.vulgare has a compound eye.
The links on this page apply mainly to P.scaber.