29 March 2008

The creature from my sister's garden

Keywords: Armadillidium vulgare, Isopoda, Oniscidea, introduced species, Canada

Last October when I was visiting my sister and her family in Montreal, I went out into their backyard one nite after a rain to check out the local creatures. I saw snails, an Oxychilus sp., and the isopod Porcellio spinicornis.

There was another isopod species, Armadillidium vulgare, which I photographed and took one specimen of. Subsequently, I realized that A. vulgare, an introduction from Europe, had not been recorded in Quebec before, although it is quite widespread in North America.

A one-page note announcing the new record coauthored by me and my isopod teachers Joan Jass and Barbara Klausmeier of the Milwaukee Public Museum just got published in the Spring 2008 issue of the Newsletter of the Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods). The pdf copy of the newsletter is here. Our note is on page 13.

Armadillidium vulgare in my sister's garden.

Incidentally, this is my first isopod publication.


Anonymous said...

Hi Aydin,

That looks like a nice alien poly-poly.

Congratulations on your first isopod publication.

I so pod there will be many more to come!


Cephalopodcast said...

Perhaps you've mentioned this before, or maybe it's naive for me to ask, but how do you figure out what species you are looking at? I imagine it's years of study and pages of dichotomous keys. But I was wondering if you have any suggestions for the layman on resources and techniques for figure out invertebrate classification.


In most cases & if you are working with a localized group of known species, it is not too difficult to learn to tell them apart. And it certainly doesn't require "years of study".

First, you want to pick a well-known & not too large group for which there are published books & keys. For example, although there are lots of species, butterflies are not too difficult to identify & there are lots of filed guides on buttreflies. Land snails, especially the larger ones, are also pretty easy to identify. However, I don't think there are recent & readily available keys to the land snails of North America. Although, there are many good books for sea shells.

With the smaller invertebrates, good magnifying glasses, or better yet, a stereomicroscope would be essential.

I would also strongly recommend, especially in the case of lesser known groups, such as isopods, getting in touch with & learning from professionals & experienced amateurs.

xoggoth said...

Been around a while, 100m years+, looks like one of your isopods 2nd from right. Interesting technology.



Yeah, that does look like an isopod.