October is a month where the color orange reigns supreme. Pumpkins, changing sugar maple leaves, wood fired stoves, candy corn and pumpkin spice lattes. Mmmmm. PSLs. With whipped cream.
In honor of Celestron’s Orange in October #ChangeYourView contest I decided to play with one of our favorite orange arthropods. The orange sowbug!
Porcellio scaber is a species of sowbug native to western Europe but they are found all over the world now. They have been introduced into North America and are one of the most commonly seen species. Sowbugs (also called pill bugs or woodlice) are related to roly polys, but they don’t roll up. These animals are in the Order Isopoda. Isopods are crustaceans! The terrestrial species are like tiny little land shrimp that live in our backyards.
The common name for this species is the rough woodlouse. Their dorsal sclerites are covered with little protuberances called tubercles. You can see them in the picture above. Woodlice are found in moist environments, like under rocks and logs. They need to live in areas that are wet because they breathe with gills, called pseudotrachea. The gills are flattened and branch off of modified back legs.
There are several color morphs of Porcellio spp., the most common being the gray morph, but the orange is our favorite. Orange is the new awesome.
I took these pictures with the Micro Fi Wifi Microscope connected to my iPad Mini.
*Tip: It can be tricky to manage the scope, the focusing, the light, the iPad AND A LIVE ANIMAL when you’re just starting out. I was getting the shots I wanted focused and then my iPad would go to sleep! ARGH! So, if you use these, on the iPad go into Settings > General Settings > Auto-Lock and change it from 2 minutes to 10 minutes. I’m here to help folks. No need to thank me.
You have a couple of days left to take a picture of something orange for the Change Your View Contest and post it on Celestron’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts. You could win a super sweet telescope and other amazing prizes!