Help with isopods


Apr 13, 2021
I picked up a tub of "Tropical grey woodlice" on my live food run today, thinking I could use them as clean up crew in a planted terrarium. I can only see 6 isopods in the tub, but there could be more buried or eggs in the substrate I guess. After Googling I think the species is probably Porcellionides pruinosus. What's the best way to set them up to get them to breed? 20210722_162538.jpg

Jumbie Spider

Active Member
Oct 29, 2020
These look like the same ones I have... I believe they come in this color and orange. I keep them in almost all of my terrariums, and they are great to have around and entertaining to watch as they are usually up to something most of the time.
Mine have gone absolutely prolific, and all I do, is have cork bark in there (as I have it in there anyways, it was not for them but they occupied it), and plenty of crushed, dry leaves. They enjoy feeding on the leaves as they decay, and really really enjoy the cork bark.
Add some springtails in there too for a real party, and you can feed the springtails some sprinkled yeast dampened with water. In about a couple weeks it should be teeming with activity.
I use peat moss as substrate, or reptisoil, and keep it on the damp side and they seem to thrive.

Here's an isopod grooming a Pamphobeteus sp. 'Whatever'


Apr 3, 2020
Isopods do not lay external eggs, they're carried in the marsupium under the body until the juveniles are ready for independent life. These are indeed Porcellionides but there is no reliable way to tell them apart from some very similar species without microscopic examination. Looking at scales and relative antennae dimensions is not very fun. As for getting them to breed, the only thing you can really do to influence that is giving them plenty of food and an ideal habitat. The cosmopolitan Porcellionides species all tend to be very hardy so the habitat requirement should be easy enough to meet, they're very flexible. And giving them enough food will encourage the females to molt, which is directly linked to receptivity towards males.

Elytra and Antenna

Arachnosupporter +
Sep 12, 2002
Dead leaves are often the primary diet but they will eat any pet foods and most human foods whether or not they can survive on them alone. Vendors often add the word "tropical" to isopods and springtails when the species is from temperate habitats. I guess because calling them tropical improves sales (I acclimated some big white temperate isopods in the 1990's which are ridiculously prolific and I see them at shows labeled "tropical pink"). Since they are not tropical in origin, lower temps won't bother them and tropical temps may cause problems.