Most of these experiments have been carried out using the following simple equipment.
1. Choice Chambers
These are used to give choices of two different conditions such as differences in light
intensity or colour. By placing different solutions in the lower half of each chamber it
possible to establish a humidity gradient between the two chambers.
Two petri dishes can be cut and glued together to make a simple choice chamber. A wire
gauze can be used to seperate the top and bottom halves if it is necessary to provide
solutions or other material below the woodlice.
Wooden or cardboard boxes can also be constructed to provide larger choice chambers. It
is important to ensure that there are no right angled corners (use circlular strips of
cardboard to line the interior walls) as this will encourage the slaters to congregated
there due to their thigmokinetic response.
These also provide two choices. By drawing a current of air through the tube it is
possible to study the effects of wind. We have also used these tubes to study possible
clumping mechanisms and other habitat preferences. We have made these tubes using plastic
drain pipe with a perspex window added in the top.
These are used in the study of alternation. The length of the 'variable length' arm is
varied from 2cm up to the point where alternation no longer occurs.
A maze can easily be constructed using Lego blocks.
4. Water baths
A simple flask in a water bath can be used to subject experimental woodlice to
different temperatures to study speed of movement. A line ruled across the base of the
flask provides a reference point and counting the number of times the line is crossed
gives a measure of speed of movement.