woodlouse

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English[edit]

A woodlouse seen from above
A woodlouse from below
A woodlouse curled into a ball

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

woodlouse (plural woodlice)

  1. Any of the terrestrial isopod crustaceans of suborder Oniscidea, which have a rigid, segmented exoskeleton, often being capable of rolling into a ball, and feed only on dead plant matter, usually living in damp, dark places, such as under stones or bark.
    • 1995, Olaf Breidbach, Wolfram Kutsch (editors), The Nervous Systems of Invertebrates: An Evolutionary and Comparative Approach, page 193,
      In addition, both the woodlouse and the crayfish possess an unpaired medial nerve which runs along the whole length of the ventral nerve cord, linking adjacent ganglia.
    • 2001, John L. Capinera (editor), Handbook of Vegetable Pests, page 566,
      Woodlice commonly produce offspring 1-3 times per year, with spring and autumn broods most common. Woodlice often survive for longer than a year, with longevity of 2-5 years not uncommon.
    • 2011, Ruth Owen, Creepy Backyard Invaders, page 18,
      The sections allow woodlice to bend and curve their armored bodies. Some types of woodlice can roll into a tight ball. They do this to protect themselves when threatened by a predator.
      Female woodlice carry their eggs in a liquid-filled pouch under their bodies. When the young woodlice hatch from the eggs, they crawl out of the pouch.

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