A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife
This blue Roly-Poly, Pill Bug or Woodlouse has light dots down the top and three short stripes on each section on each side. The video shows the black one unrolling then shoving the blue one away in what seemed to be a territorial issue until I learned the reason for the blue coloring (see Notes)
Underneath a flat rock in the backyard.
"There is a type of virus called an “iridovirus” that attacks terrestrial isopods (roly polys or pill bugs) and forms crystals beneath their external skeleton (shell or cuticle). The accumulation of these crystals causes their appearance to change from the normal gray or brown to a bright blue, violet or purple. The virus is not dangerous to humans and cannot be “caught” from the roly poly." - Natural History Museum. http://www.nhm.org/site/research-collect... "Sick pillbugs turn bright blue. Like other animals, pillbugs can contract viral infections. If you find a pillbug that looks bright blue or purple, it's a sign of an iridovirus. Reflected light from the virus causes the cyan color." - http://insects.about.com/od/isopods/a/10...
Spotted on Nov 10, 2011
Submitted on Nov 10, 2011
and 18 other people favorited this spotting