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As I was walking through my local cemetery today, I spotted a very thick, very wet newspaper lying on a fallen tree and I simply couldn’t resist taking a peek underneath. These are what I found, Common shiny woodlice (Oniscus asellus), one of the 45 (yes, 45!) native or naturalised species of woodlice in Britain.

160110 woodlice (1)

Did you know:

  • A woodlouse has fourteen jointed limbs, and breathes using lungs in its rear legs.
  • Although it’s a crustacean (like the oh-so-tasty lobsters and crabs), a woodlouse tastes like strong urine. I wonder who the crazy person was who discovered that interesting fact!
  • Just like earthworms, woodlice are good for the garden because they produce compost, aerate the soil and help control pests.
  • Woodlice prefer damp places because they lose a lot of moisture through excretion (plenty of evidence of that to be seen in my photos!).
  • In New Zealand it’s called a slater; in Reading, England it’s a cheeselog; in Devon it’s a chiggy pig; and in Cornwall it goes by the name of gramersow. Do you have a special name for this little critter? Let me know in the comments below.

160110 woodlice (2)