Friday, August 15, 2008

We Need Pill Bugs - Rollie Pollies

We Need Pill Bugs for our first investigation!

If you find any pill bugs between now and the first week of class please bring them in for our experiment. We need them to be living.


Look under logs, moist leaf litter, flower pots (a day after they have been watered), outdoor pet dishes, and under paving bricks or stones. Isopods live where it is moist and usually in a shaded area. To attract them, water soil or leaf litter in the shade and cover with plastic, piece of plywood or cardboard. Keep the area moist and check under the covering in a couple days.

How to collect
Before looking for isopods, prepare a container and tools to gather the isopods. If you are going to set them up in a container with soil in a day, you do not need to separate them from the soil (see rearing information). To collect them, use a spoon or shovel and a container. Look under a rock or log and be prepared to collect the isopods quickly before they scurry away from the light. Gently scoop up soil with the isopods and place them in the container. Look on the underside of the log or stone for others. They can be gently picked or brushed off with a finger into the container. Pill bugs often curl up and can be picked up individually or scooped up with the spoon. If you are going to keep the isopods a couple days before placing them in the classroom, use a plastic margarine or cottage cheese container with small holes poked in the lid and a moistened piece of paper towel lightly crumple inside. Use an old pie tin to sort the isopods from the soil before placing them in the container. The paper towel must be kept moist or they will die. When you are looking under rocks and logs be careful to avoid scorpions, centipedes and other animals that live there. Return the rock or log to the way it was when you found it.

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