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Pill-bug Armadillidium vulgare

The Pill-bug is a shiny grey woodlouse. It has a variable number of small, fine lined markings which are usually white or yellow. It is a rather big species, which may reach a length of some 18 mm. When it feels threatened it may roll up it's body, hence the name. There are also a few millipedes which do the same trick, so be sure it is not one of those when identifying the animal.

The Pill-bug is capable of surviving rather dry conditions and is often found on calcareous soils. It is also common along the coasts. It usually feeds on decaying debris, but may also feed on lichens and algea growing on stems, walls or rocks. In winter the Pill-bug enters a state of dormancy to survive the low temperatures. It is not fond of cold, so it can often be seen sunbathing on coller days. It doesn't like the heat either (it will die when temperatues rise to over 36 degrees C), so on hot days it is seen in the shades only. It is a common species all over the south and east of England and Ireland. In the northern regions however it is found in the coastal areas mainly.

The Pill-bug is known under a lot of names, such as: Common Pill-bug, Pill Woodlouse, Common Pill Woodlouse, Roly-Poly, Carpenter and Doodle Bug.