For those who are accustomed to counting the woodlice as insects, it may seem surprising that in reality these creatures are representatives of a squad of isopods, in fact they are small crustaceans. Their closest biological relatives are large giant equinox crayfish, as well as a large number of interesting marine crustaceans, called sea cockroaches.
But the ordinary river crayfish, which we are familiar with, can be attributed to the relatives of the woodlouse, but far enough – systematically, the woodlouse and river crayfish have a not very high degree of kinship.
Woodlouse – crustaceans, leading a rather secretive way of life and rarely come across to the person. For this reason, attention is mainly paid to biologists, as well as gardening, to which these creatures can damage crops. Nevertheless, there is a lot of interesting in both biology and anatomy of the woodlouse – we will continue to talk about these entertaining nuances and talk …
Virtually all types of woodlice have the characteristic appearance of a small “battleship” with a large number of legs.
The body of the woodlouse is covered with hard and hard chitinous scutes, protecting it from numerous predators. It is these shields that create the characteristic appearance of the woodlice and clearly distinguish it from the majority of insects. So, for example, beetles or semi-feathery insects have two dense wings, but never 9-10 separate segments, like those of the moss-eaters.
The woodlouse have 7 pairs of walking legs, which distinguishes them from the same river crayfish with five pairs of walking legs and three pairs of legs, turned into tools for eating. Insects have only 3 pairs of legs.
The internal structure of the woodlouse is similar to that of ordinary cancers. Breathing organs resemble gills, but work in the lungs and are located at the base of five pairs of thoracic legs. All woodlouse have antennae from several segments, along the length and kink of which sometimes separate species of woodworms are distinguished.
As a rule, the woodlice are painted absolutely unattractively – this allows them to disguise themselves on the ground, in the grass and under the stones. The two most widespread types of woodlice in our country have a gray color of the body, others can be lighter and with green shades in color. Only in some species on the body there are pictures or stripes.
Today, scientists count more than 5,000 species of woodlice all over the world, of which only a few dozen species are found in our country. And the woodlouse are quite heat-loving creatures, and therefore most of their species lives in the tropics and in the subtropical belts.