Sowbug (Porcellio laevis)
(Subphylum: Crustacea; Class: Malacostraca; Order: Isopoda; Suborder Oniscidea; Family Porcellionidae)
Invertebrates Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Sowbug (Family Porcellionidae)

General: Sowbugs (Family Porcellionidae) are small terrestrial creatures of damp places with a hinged exoskeleton like an armadillo, but not the ability to roll up into a tightly closed ball. Sowbugs have seven pairs of legs and two short tails (uropoda). Typical of crustaceans, sowbugs have two pairs of antennae, but one is large, and the other is tiny and not visible from above. The flagellum, the end section of the antenna, is composed of only two parts; and the carapace is smooth and shiny.

Sowbugs are worldwide in distribution. In the United States, the two most common species are Porcellio laevis and Porcellio scaber, which has a bumpy carapace.

Sowbugs tend to be inactive during the day, staying hidden to stay cool and reduce water loss. At night, they come out to scavengers on decaying organic matter such as grass clippings, garden mulch, and other decaying vegetation.

Sowbug (Family Porcellionidae) Sowbug; note the two tails.
Sowbug (Family Porcellionidae) Sowbug; hard to see, but note the seven pairs of legs (plus one pair of antennae).
Sowbug (Family Porcellionidae) Sowbug; note the two segments at the end of the antenna, indicating that this is a member of the family Porcellionidae.
Sowbug (Family Porcellionidae) Sowbug (Family Porcellionidae)
Sowbug (Family Porcellionidae) Sowbug (Family Porcellionidae)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 100320

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