•130 species of freshwater Sow Bugs in North America

Over 2000 land and ocean dwelling species

Relatively tolerant of organic pollution



Identification Tips:

• Typically 5-20 mm long
• Very flattened top to bottom
• 7 pair of walking legs; progressively longer towards the tail
• enlarged claws on most forward legs
• Plates cover bases of legs

Life History:

• Live in most shallow water habitats
• Slow moving crawlers that avoid light
• Scavenge organic material from stream bottom, eat smaller invertebrates and consume live plant material
• Most live for one year, reproducing once
• Females brood eggs in a 'marsupium' and carry them for up to 30 days after hatching

Very SensitiveSomewhat SensitiveFacultativeSomewhat TolerantVery Tolerant

Primary Information Source:
Voshell, J. Reese. 2002. A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America. McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company. Blacksburg, Virginia.