Isopod photo and description, how it looks and where it lives

Isopod (lat. Bathynomus) a large isopod crustacean, there are 15 different species. A close relative of crabs, shrimps, crayfish and some terrestrial.

The largest number of individuals is found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Prefers cold water, spends life at depth. Belongs to a large family of higher crayfish. It is the oldest representative of the fauna, the appearance of which has not changed for many years. There are species that prefer salt water for life, as well as various terrestrial forms. In addition, there are groups related to parasites.


Appeared many million years ago during the Mesozoic, lived in fresh waters. Then there were dangerous predatory animals. They adapt perfectly to various climate and environmental changes. Thanks to amber, an isopod was found wood lice, which has survived to this day and has lain underground for many millions of years. In appearance and habits, the isopod differs from typical crustaceans, crabs, crayfish, shrimps, amphipods. A feature of an isopod is:

  1. The ability to walk at the bottom of a pond.
  2. Head with sensitive antennas.


Individual sizes range from 0.5 cm to 45 cm. The eyes are at a great distance from each other, vision has a reflective effect.

They can live at a depth of 100 to 2000 m, where there is very low pressure and low water temperature.

The body consists of segments connected to each other by movable ligaments. 7 pairs of legs covered with chitin. The legs are very dense, consist of bone tissue. Strong legs give the animal the ability to move quickly on land and in water. Durable chitinous shell does not allow them to swim, only to walk. The forelimbs are located near the mouth, they are designed to grab and hold the object. The head is equipped with two sensitive antennas. Vision is very poorly developed. Isopods come in different colors: white, cream, red, brown, dark brown, almost black. The color acts as a disguise, the arthropod has the ability to adapt to its habitat. Its tail looks like a horizontal chitinous plate. With its help, the animal balances. The internal organs are represented by the respiratory apparatus, heart, intestine.


Isopods can be found in the salt waters of the oceans, on land, in the desert, tropical forests, in fields and groves. There is such a species as a giant isopod that lives on the ocean floor, at the very depths of. Woodlice are considered common isopod species, found everywhere: in the sand off the coast, in the tropics, in cellars, under stones in a humid environment, near rotting trees.

What does it eat

You can meet omnivorous, herbivorous, carnivorous isopods. Giant isopods feed on carrion, as well as sea cucumbers, sponges, nematodes, radiolarians, and various organisms that inhabit the soil. Giant member of the class feeds on the remains of dead whales and colossal squid.

If an isopod gets into a net with live fish, it can attack it right there and eat it alive.

Giant representatives do an excellent job with hunger, prefer not to move at this time and conserve strength.

They do not have a feeling of fullness, therefore, with a large amount of food, they gorge themselves to the point where they lose the ability to move.

Arthropods living on the ground eat vegetation. They prefer compost, fresh plants and organic leftovers.

Among the species there are parasites that attach to fish or crustaceans and exterminate it.

Social life

In life, an isopod living in water is not aggressive, but is considered a predator, it can attack fish. Soil, rocks, reefs, sunken objects become a home for an animal. Prefers a solitary lifestyle. Subject to cannibalism, during a period of lack of food, it can eat its own kind, weaker representatives.

They hunt around the clock, very carefully so as not to become the prey of a large predator.

Woodlice live in large groups, the night for them is the time to search for food, and in the daytime they try not to catch insects and animals in the eyes. Hiding in rocks, rotting trees, basements where there is a lot of moisture.

The giant isopod constantly hunts, it is very aggressive, it constantly wants to eat, it can attack animals that are much larger and stronger than it.


Some species reproduce by mating male and female, while others are hermaphrodites. Giant isopod breeds in spring and winter. The female has a special place where the eggs will be stored after fertilization. Small individuals after hatching from eggs are outwardly absolutely similar to adults.

On land, arthropods have a lifespan of months to 1 year; the average life of aquatic species has not been precisely determined. It is known that being in artificial conditions, in an aquarium, a giant isopod can live up to 50-60 years.

The isopod is a delicacy for carnivorous and omnivorous animals living in the water; it is eaten by fish and other arthropods. In addition, they may be attacked by octopuses. The giant isopod can be attacked by large sharks, squids, their own kind, deep-sea fish.

However, waterfowl are afraid to attack him, due to the fact that he is very aggressive and can injure the attacker himself. Entering the battle, the animal fights to victory, can eat the attacking animal alive. Terrestrial isopods feed on birds, insects, rodents, and crustaceans.

The protective mechanism of woodlice is triggered in case of danger, it curls up into a ball, exposing a shell of chitin as a shield. If she comes across ants, then the insects roll her up to the anthill, where the group eats her.


The isopod is considered a delicacy in some countries. Commercial fishing is difficult due to a number of points:

  1. The giant isopod is very difficult to catch, as it lives at great depths.
  2. The taste of meat is very specific, similar to shrimp meat.
  3. Many small species that can be caught are absolutely tasteless and very small.

Interesting Facts

  1. Many giant species live on the coast of Japan, they are caught and placed in aquariums.
  2. Mokritz can be found everywhere, even in Eurasia, in the northern part. There they settle in important places, including in home basements.
  3. The fact is known when the giant isounder attacked a large shark that fell into the trap. The fish was much more crustacean, but the isopo caught her head on her head and ate her.
  4. Mokrin can carry out both benefits and harm. Mokritsa-Patter destroys the courage of agricultural crops, useful mokritsa fights weeds.
  5. Giant isopodes have a unique ability not to eat for a long time. So, in Japan, a fact was recorded when this animal did not eat for 5 years, while moving very little and remaining alive.
  6. Most representatives of the species are quite peaceful and do not pose a threat to either humans or other animals.
  7. The largest representative of the crustacean was 70 cm. After studying, scientists came to the conclusion that with the help of an increased size, the animal adapts to great depths.
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