Common Shiny Woodlouse Oniscus asellus ssp. asellus


Common Shiny Woodlouse Oniscus asellus
Common Shiny Woodlouse Oniscus asellus exuviae
Common Shiny Woodlouse Oniscus asellus exuviae
Common Shiny Woodlouse Oniscus asellus exuviae

Class Malacostraca (Malacostracans)
Order Isopoda (Woodlice)
Family Oniscidae
Species Oniscus asellus ssp. asellus Linnaeus, 1758

Length up to 16 mm.

This is one of the largest native woodlice in the British Isles. It is fairly flat and shiny, marbled greyish-brown in colour with pale markings. Yellow or orange forms may occur. The antennal falgellum is compsed of 3 distinct sections and the eyes have about 25 ocelli. One of the ‘famous 5’ very common British species most likely to be seen.

After dark it forages for dead organic matter on which it feeds. Seen all year round in a wide variety of habitats, including woodland, hedgerows, waste ground, and quite numerous in gardens. It easily dries out, so it shelters under rocks or stones, rotting logs or plant detritus. Common and widespread throughout.

Discovered in back garden, South Staffordshire. Note images of woodlouse shedding exuviae. © Peter Hillman.

Species recorded and verified via iRecord.