07 October 2010

Isopods—not so cheap

Why would anyone buy isopods? They are freely and abundantly available almost everywhere. The rocks and other flat objects in my yard, for example, shelter large numbers of them. I could possibly collect several hundred isopods in one night.

Yet they are also available for purchase. I was ordering a buret* from my favorite supply company Ward's Natural Science earlier today when I noticed that they were selling a "package of 45" living pillbugs for $25.25 each. That is 56.1 cents per isopod. Rather expensive for so common an animal.

You don't even get a full identification; Wards gives the name of their isopod only as Armadillidium sp.

The only time of the year when isopods disappear mysteriously is when the upper soil temperatures are near or below freezing. So, I suppose if one desperately needed 45 live isopods in the middle of a cold winter—and if one had extra cash lying around—one could buy them. Otherwise, go out and collect your own. The common species one is likely to find in one's backyard are not that difficult to identify anyway.

*What I intend to do with a buret will probably be the subject of a future post.


Cindy said...

I couldn't imagine spending 25 bucks for critters that any 4 year old can happily collect for free. Then I looked up Family Armadillidiidae on BugGuide, and surprisingly, there are many states that apparently don't have them!

Also, I looked up buret, because I didn't know what it was. Very laboratorial. I can't imagine what you will be putting in there. (Well, actually I can imagine a few odd things, but you don't want to know...)


Water, I'll be putting water in the buret!

I am almost certain that Armadillidium spp. are present in most if not all states. The BugGuide map is not necessarily complete.

Kazimir Majorinc said...

Probably their isopods are just better - healthier, stronger, more intelligent, responsive etc. Quality.

Number 45 doesn't make me happy, however. It looks like 5 isopods are missing.

Anonymous said...

In my limited experience (mostly in the south of England as a child), it was very much easier to find sowbugs than pill bugs, which seemed to prefer slightly different conditions, perhaps a little wilder and a little drier? It seemed to me that I found maybe 50 or 100 sowbugs for each pill bug I saw, something like that. How often do you find pill bugs Aydin?

Susan J. Hewitt

forestwalk/laura k said...

i was raised in NY...and we had them all over the place. we used to call them 'ball-y bugs'!!

Anonymous said...

I raise four different species of isopod as pet and reptile food. Soon to be five, with a purchase of dwarf white tropical woodlice. For the little guys to eat.