What Do Rolly Pollies Eat?

What Do Rolly Pollies Eat?
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Often thought to be bugs, rolly-pollies are terrestrial crustaceans, classified under the order Isopoda. The existence of rolly-pollies is essential to the ecosystem.

Rolly-pollies are mostly detritivores, consuming organic matter.

These tiny creatures feed on dead plants and animals, and will, on other occasions, consume live plants.

Types of rolly-pollies and their Habitats

Types of Rolly Pollies

This organism is in some regions referred to as the common pill bug, doodlebug, potato bug, woodlouse, woodlice, or sow bug.

  • One species of rolly-pollies exist, which is the Armadillidium vulgare. This species is classified in the order Isopoda, meaning the same foot. This is because the pill bug has 14 legs, all of which are of the same shape and size.
  • The rolly-pollies inhabit the soil or earth surface, and they are found in abundance in moist regions or damp soils.
  • These organisms are found in wide distribution in areas with the Mediterranean climate.
  • The rolly-pollies can also be located in agroecosystems that are in temperate regions.
  • Other data indicate that rolly-pollies can be found in Japan’s subarctic and subtropical regions.
  • Their preferred habitats are those with an abundant supply of decomposing organic material, moderate to high levels of humidity, reduced illumination, and moderate temperature levels.

What Do Rolly Pollies Eat?

What Do Pill Bugs Eat?

Rolly-pollies are mostly detritivores, consuming decomposing organic matter drawn from both plants and animals.

  • During drought periods, rolly-pollies display scavenger behavior.
  • Additionally, herbivory behavior has been evidenced in rolly-pollies, where they have been shown to feed on carrots and some fruits (strawberries).
  • Carnivory tendencies have also been described in rolly-pollies, where these organisms feed on meat.
  • Some members of this species have been shown to display cannibalism. In this case, the more energetic individuals feed on, the weaker members of the group.
  • Also, rolly-pollies engage in self-coprophagy. These organisms obtain 10% of their nutrients from eating their fecal matter.

What Do Pill Bugs Eat in The Wild?

What Do Wild Pill Bugs Eat?

  • In the wild, pill bugs feed on many things such as dying or decomposed plants such as weeds, grass, leaves, and more.
  • They also consume live plants.

What Do Pill Bugs Drink?

Pill Bugs do drink water like other species in the animal kingdom. rolly-pollies use a tube-shaped structure called Uropods to pick up water and drink it.

Are Pill Bugs Poisonous?

Pillbugs are not poisonous as they don’t sting, bite, or carry any harmful diseases.

Poisonous Caterpillars

World’s Top 15 Poisonous Caterpillars

There are many kinds of poisonous caterpillars; several caterpillars develop chemical warfare - they become poisonous. Here are 15 species of poisonous caterpillars from around the world.

Do Rolly Pollies Eat Dog Poop?

Yes, indeed, they do. rolly-pollies eat all kinds of feces. Also, they eat their own excretion, which is known as self-coprophagy.

Do Rolly Pollies Eat Strawberries?

Yes, indeed, pill bugs love to eat them. rolly-pollies are pests for gardeners.

  • Pillbugs make holes in strawberries while eating them.
  • To stop them from destroying the crops, farmers spray liquids such as vinegar, boric acid, or apple cider to keep them at bay.

How Do Rolly Pollies Hunt?

How Do Rolly Pollies Hunt?

Rolly-pollies have been observed to engage in cannibalism.

  • Often, the younger individuals or weaker members are targeted by the adult rolly-pollies.
  • These newborns and weaklings are captured by the more potent and powerful adult rolly-pollies and are then eaten.
  • In other scenarios, cannibalism can take the form where the deceased bodies of rolly-pollies are fed on by other live members.
  • This can also be described as scavenging.
  • Other studies have linked the cannibalistic behavior of these terrestrial isopods to the spread of bacteria from an infected prey to an uninfected predator/host.
  • The bacterium that has been shown to be transferred in this manner is Wolbachia pipientis.

When Do Rolly Pollies Eat?

Rolly-pollies mostly display nocturnal tendencies.

  • They tend to look for food and eat at night.
  • During the day, rolly-pollies are inactive and are thus likely to be found hiding in dark and humid areas, which are often under logs, rocks, or fallen leaves.

How Often Do Rolly Pollies Eat?

Rolly-pollies can feed as much as they want to as long as there is food availability.

  • In the event of scarcity, the rate of food consumption drops.
  • Further, when food resources are limited, rolly-pollies are pushed to engage in unusual food habits.
  • For instance, many rolly-pollies are driven to engage in cannibalism when food resources are scarce.
  • Aside from taking part in cannibalism during scarcity, rolly-pollies may also feed on their younger ones during the mating season.

What Eats Rolly Pollies?

What Eats Rolly Pollies?

Rolly-pollies are a significant source of nutrition to organisms like the shrew. Other creatures like centipedes, owls, foxes, toads, frogs, some ants, and spiders find rolly-pollies to be a great source of food.

Where Do Rolly Pollies Fit in the Animal Food Chain?

Rolly-pollies play an essential role in the animal food chain.

Rolly Pollies In Animal Food Chain

  • Rolly-pollies are notable decomposers, and they play an imperative task in the digestion of decaying matter from both animals and plants.
  • As a result of this action, rolly-pollies return more nutrients to the soil, thus playing a part in ensuring other animals have an environment where they can propagate and thrive.
  • Thanks to their sensitivity to changes that occur in the environment, rolly-pollies are excellent indicators of the ecosystem’s health.
  • Their presence in the environment means the ecosystem is thriving.
  • In addition to this role, pill bugs are a great source of nutrition to other animals that rely on them for food.
  • Examples of the organisms that feed on pill bugs include but are not limited to some ant and spider species.

Cite this article as: "What Do Rolly Pollies Eat?," in Bio Explorer, November 25, 2020, https://www.bioexplorer.net/what-do-rolly-pollies-eat.html/.

Key References

  • “ADW: Armadillidium vulgare: INFORMATION”. Accessed June 07, 2020. Link.
  • “Armadillidium vulgare”. Accessed June 07, 2020. Link.
  • “Cannibalism and Predation as Paths for Horizontal Passage of Wolbachia between Terrestrial Isopods”. Accessed June 07, 2020. Link.
  • “pillbug – Armadillidium vulgare”. Accessed June 07, 2020. Link.
  • “The bizarre world of woodlice: Seven pairs of lungs, and 100 crazy names”. Accessed June 07, 2020. Link.
  • “Roly-Poly Bug Facts | Sciencing”. Accessed June 07, 2020. Link.


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