Why Roly-poly bugs are needed for the ecosystem
Every element of our ecosystem, no matter how big or small play a very specific and important role in keeping a healthy and thriving cycle. This is a very prominent statement when it comes to the tiny, weird, and wonderful world of the roly-poly insect, a tiny creature that often knows unnoticed but in its silence is a key factor within our ecosystems. The roly-poly scientific name pill bugs are those insects that have the ability to roll themselves into a ball and any given moment, when sensing even the slightest bit of fear or danger, a trait that has fascinating both adults and children for decades. But pill bugs are far more than just a roly-poly animal and when taking a closer and deeper look into their specific role we can see just how important they really are, for both wildlife, nature, and our environment as a whole.
What Are Pill Bugs?
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the many roly poly names, however, the roly-poly bug scientific name is actually pill bugs, roly-poly is just a common nickname given to them by their literal rolling abilities. However this is not the only nickname these globally known bugs have been given, some people call them doodlebugs, wood shrimp, roly-poly potato bug, penny sows, and even chiggypigs, depending on where you come from.
But no matter what nickname you choose to call this fascinating creature, it all essentially leads back to the same result. Pillbugs are scavengers, and mainly feed off of decaying plant matter in and around their environment and play the role of decomposers in the food chain. They are also considered to be extremely sensitive towards their environment and can pick up on even the smallest changes within their surroundings. They are also said to be a biological indicator and a scientist’s best friend as they are able to translate information pertaining to the ecosystem in which they inhabit this is extremely important when it comes to maintaining the health and safety of certain habitats.
Is a Roly Poly an Insect?
One of the greatest and most misconceived roly-poly facts is the belief that they are insects. However, they are actually considered to be part of the crustacean family, meaning they are closer to shrimps, crabs, and crayfi9sh than they are to ants and beetles. The roly-poly crustacean is actually a terrestrial crustacean and the only one that actually exists on our planet, this is because they have the full ability to live and thrive on land. It is a fascinating fact that has boggled the minds of scientists for years and truly shows the nature of the adaptation abilities animals have. So if roly pollies are crustaceans do pill bugs have gills? Yes just like all other crustaceans on earth pill bugs breathe through gills. Although they do live on land they require those gills to remain moist at all times but yet cannot survive underwater. Underneath their segmented bodies, they also possess a set of seven tiny little legs which they use to move swiftly through the land.
What Do Roly Polys Eat?
The pill bugs’ info when it comes to their feeding patterns is one that is very rare and equally as interesting. The answer to what do doodle bugs eat is actually an extremely important factor in what makes them such an important element of our environment and many ecosystems in general. Rolly pollies tend to feed off of plant matter that is either decaying or already decomposed. The most commonly opt for softer options such as grasses, leaves, and even mulch depending on what is available within their surroundings.
They surprisingly also feed off of heavy metal deposits which are usually found hidden within the soil. This element of the pill bugs feeding habitats is extremely important and actually helps fertilize the soil and remove toxins making it easier for flora and fauna to grow and reproduce. Another weird and interesting fact about their feeding is that rolly pollies eat poop, not just any poop their own poop as well as sometimes the feces of other small animals. It is not quite understood as to why they choose to do this, but mostly it is suggested that it is a way for them to obtain nutrients and remove harmful toxins from their environment.
What Do Roly Polys Drink?
So with all this eating and scavengers what do pillbugs was it all down with and do rolly pollies drink water like other insects and crustaceans? Interestingly rolly pollies do not have to actively drink water as they consume most of the liquid they need from the humidity and moisture of the air as well as from the foods they consume. One crazy fact about these bugs that roll into a ball is that they do not urinate, this is simply because they don’t need to. Most other animals and humans urinate to get rid of toxins but because the pill bugs tolerance for such toxins is so high they do not need to get rid of it, instead, they release their toxins through gas that is emitted through the small holes in their shell, this is what mostly gives them there stinky and dirty reputation.
What Do Rolly Pollies Do?
We have spoken a lot about how important pill bugs are and that their role is essential to the ecosystems of nature, but what exactly do they do that makes them so special? They are a few different reasons as to why they are in such high demand and a lot of it has to do with the fact that they are an essential decomposer and help to get rid of decaying plant matter which can otherwise harm the soil and the products that grow from it. But there is another key factor that makes these creatures so special and that is the fact that they distribute nutrients. So how do pil bugs return nutrients to the ecosystem? Once they have fed off of the decomposing plant matter they digest the product and then return the nutrients back into the soil, and because of their sensitivity to nature, they know exactly in which areas to do so guided by the ability to see what areas are lacking. As well as this they are also a source of food for many animals and because of their abundance and rapid breeding ability are a helpful part of the food chain.
Pil Bug vs Rolly Pollies FQA
To better help you understand the interesting and diverse nature of the roly-poly, here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding their adaptations, lifestyle, and specific role within the ecosystems.
- Do rolly pollies have eyes? Rolly pollies are practically blind, while they actually do have eyes located on either end of their head they are only capable of light detection and not vision.
- Do rolly pollies sleep? Yes, rolly pollies do sleep. Pillbugs are actually nocturnal meaning that they sleep during the day and are active at night. This has a lot to do with the fact that they require cool and moist conditions in order to breathe.
- How long do rolly pollies live? Surprisingly rolly pollies even being as tiny and vulnerable as they are actually have quite a long lifespan especially for their size, and can survive for up to 5 years in the wild.
- How big is a rolly polly? The smallest roly-poly is about a quarter of an inch long and the biggest roly-poly is about half an inch long, which is pretty tiny in size, often meaning they go completely unnoticed. Both a female roly-poly and a male roly-poly grow to be about the same size.
- Where to find rolly pollies? You can most commonly find rolly pollies hidden in the soil, in the garden, amongst the debris, moist logs, or under rocks, and in places that maintain a moist, cool and dark climate.
At the End of the Day
As you can see rolly pollies are far more interesting and useful than what we automatically assume given their reputation. From this, you now not only understand what do rolly pollies eat in the wild and what are rolly pollies called but also how they contribute to our beloved ecosystems and environment and potentially ensure that life on earth can exist. The pill bugs facts and information is a lesson that shows no matter how big or small each creature on our planet is different, special, and vital for the environment and nature as a whole.
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