Monday, December 6, 2010

Wood Pile, Part II

Have you ever met a sowbug face to face?

    Just look at those antennae and compound eyes.  Aren't sowbugs intriguing?  I think so, but my wife says they are repugnant.  Whatever you think, you may want to consider some of their interesting characteristics as you sizzle your sowbugs.
   
    To begin with, sowbugs raise their young in brood pouch called a marsupium. 

Secondly, they can excrete chemicals for defensive purposes.  In other words they have "repugnatorial glands" .  (See the behavior section on  http://webs.lander.edu/rsfox/invertebrates/armadillidium.html)

    Lastly, notice the two projections on the end of the sowbug.
  These are the uropods.  One of their functions is moisture regulation. Sowbugs can take up moisture by capillary action by placing the uropods agaisnt a moist area.  The opposite can be accomplished by placing the uropods against a dry area. Ingenious! 
   This resident of my woodpile is also commonly known as a woodlouse. 
     You could also call it a terrestrial isopod crustacean, which seems more fitting considering the few details I listed above.
  For a few more details see http://porcellio.scaber.org/woodlice/wgloss.htm  

2 comments:

  1. What is sizzling a sowbug ? Burning it ?

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  2. Sybil, you got it.:) That was a play on words. We inadvertently burns some "cool critters" in our fireplace,eh?

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