- Three body parts: head, thorax, abdomen
- One prominent pair of antennae
- Simple eyes
- Seven pairs of legs
- Seven separate segments on thorax
- Paired appendages at end of abdomen called uropods
- Color varies from dark gray to white with or without pattern
Adult Males and Females On the underside, females have leaf-like growths at base of some legs. These brood pouches hold developing eggs and embryos. The first two appendages on the male abdomen are modified as elongated copulatory organs.
Immatures (different stages) The immature isopod molts four or five times. They look like adults except for size, proportion, color and sexual development.
Food Isopods are omnivores or scavengers feeding on dead or decaying plants or animals. Some may eat live plants.
Habitat Isopods breathe with gills, so they are restricted to areas with high humidity, under rocks or logs, in leaf litter or in crevices. Some species are nocturnal.
Predators Vertebrates and invertebrates. Fish think we’re cute and taste like bacon!
Interesting Behaviors Some species roll up into a ball when disturbed. Eggs (up to 100) are held in broad pouch on females. Juveniles look like adults and are soon liberated from the pouch. Molting is in two stages. First the back half molts, then two to three days later, the front half molts. Coloration of both halves may be different at this time. Many species are fast walkers, but can be easily observed when held in the palm of the hand.