Monday, April 19, 2010

An Influx of Isopods (or, Kate and her 37 little friends)

(Warning: this post contains creepy-crawlies. If you do not like creepy-crawlies, feel free to not read this post.)

Roly-polies. Pillbugs. Sowbugs. Woodlice. Small terrestrial crustaceans. In Newfoundland they call them carpenters.

We have them.

(Illustration by Kate. See the rolled-up one?)

Last week I took Kate and Andy out for a walk around the bike path. Kate picked up a roly-poly that she found crawling across the road. She brought it home and named it Turtle.

Poor Turtle did not make it through the night. (Let us pause for a moment of silence....) So I went looking online and found some information, and this cute video, about how to keep pillbugs. It looked like it would be pretty interesting, and not difficult.

A couple of days after that we went out around the bike path again, and asked our neighbors Glory and Sky (담이와 하누리) to go with us. They packed along some Choco Pies and 귤 (little oranges) and we had a little picnic. We had some fun turning over rocks and looking at worms and things, and then we found some rotting wood that was full of pillbugs. Pillbug heaven. We put some of the wood in a plastic bag that I had brought along to put our garbage in, and brought it home.

We put the pillbugs and their wood in a little tub we've had sitting on our back porch. It used to have a flower in it, and now has a lot of dirt, dead leaves, a bit of moss, and something else coming up volunteer. A good home for pillbugs! Doug went out and picked up a spray bottle so we can keep things damp. (But not too damp.)

Kate drew some pictures to tape around the tub so the pillbugs would have something to look at. She's been having fun watching them and picking them up and naming them things like Daisy and Pug Bill. (It eventually dawned on me that Pug Bill is an anagram of pillbug.) Most of the ones we found are the non-rolling variety, but we do have a few rollers, too. We've been giving them little bits of fruit and corn. So far they seem to be doing okay!

Kate expounds upon pillbugs. (I have no idea if there are really 37--I have not counted them.)

I learned how to say pillbug in Korean. They're called 쥐며느리 (chui myeo neu ri), which means "mouse's daughter-in-law."

I tried getting some pictures with my macro lens. This is not easy. They keep moving.

It's interesting to see how their armor plates fit together, and the shape and texture. They are pretty cool little critters.


Heather T. said...

She displays a remarkable capacity for observation in her drawing. I am much impressed!

Qwendykay said...

I LOVE her drawings. AK is smitten with Rolie Pollies, she always has one in her pockets.... makes laundry a bit frightening.

Chalfont said...

Maybe we will have to copy your idea of harboring pill bugs. They are charming little bugs.

Julie K in Taiwan said...

Can't quite be enamored by it all... I'm not one for bugs. But Kate's cute! And a talented drarwer.

Janelle said...

"Pugbill"--that is the cutest thing ever! The drawings are terrific, too.

Liberty said...

Since I was little we called them Potato Bugs - and we too love them!!! What a great idea to keep them for a bit to observe them. Holly would adore that :)

Love Kate's drawings - she has a good eye! Definately has your talents!

Mimi said...

We called them potato bugs too, which is odd, because there are potato bugs (and they are nasty creepy)

Soozcat said...

We had lots of these in my backyard in California. Ever since I saw Nausicaä, I tend to think of them as "mini-Ohmu."

Kathey said...

H-m-m, miniature armadillos?

Heidi said...

I love roly poly's! (We lived in Idaho and were taught from a young age that they are not potato bugs. ;) )

I used to catch those kinds of bugs all summer and keep them in canning jars with holes poked in the lids. ;)

Betsey said...

That video was absolutely adorable. That kid is going places.