Pill Bugs

Topics: PH, Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare Pages: 8 (2979 words) Published: May 14, 2008
In this lab Armadillidium vulgar, also known as pill bugs, are tested to determine their environmental preferences. This information was determined by first making an ethogram of the observed behaviors of the pill bugs. Next, five more experiments were performed to conclude the environmental preferences of the bugs. These experiments involved testing two different environments against each other and observing the pill bugs for ten minutes to see their preference. The environments included: wet versus dry, light versus dark, low pH versus high pH, low pH versus neutral pH, and high pH versus neutral pH. These experiments concluded that the pill bugs prefer a wet and dark environment; however the other experiments were inconclusive what kind of pH the pill bugs prefer. In conclusion, it can be seen from this experiment that Armadillidium vulgare prefer to be environments that are darker and moister. Introduction

Animal behavior can tell scientists about the various responses an organism has to different stimuli. In order to study animal behavior the scientist must clearly define what the behavior is. A good way to track an animal’s behavior is to categorize them on an ethogram. An ethogram is a good tool in understanding how an organism survives, mates, and reproduces. After a scientist has correctly described each behavior, he or she can ask four different questions about the behaviors: causation, development, evolution, and function. Each of these four ideas has a specific question it is asking about a behavior. Causation is trying to find out what the basis is for the animal performing the certain behavior. Development asks how the certain behavior changes during the organism’s lifetime. Scientists can also find the differences between innate and learned behaviors. Evolution asks how the behavior has changed through the history of the organism. Lastly, function determines how the behavior benefits the organism. Another concept in animal behavior study is the simple movements. There are two different types of simple movements that animals can produce. One is known as kinesis, which is an increase in the rate of activity due to a response to a stimulus. The other movement is known as taxis. Taxis are the movement away or toward a stimulus, such as light or gravity (Bonner et al., 2007.). Also, orientation is defined as a process by which animals position themselves with respect to spatial features of their environments (“Isopod, Pill bug…”). In this experiment I work with a group of isopods known as Armadillidium vulgare, more commonly known as pill bugs. During the lab, I find out the behavioral preferences of these bugs in different experimental habitats. I test the bugs in five different environments. In general, isopods are land dwelling crustaceans commonly known as sowbugs or pillbugs. These bugs are related to lobsters, crabs, and shrimp. Even though both types of isopods look alike, sow bugs are unlike from pillbugs. Pillbugs will curl into a ball when threatened while sow bugs will try to flee. The appearance of the isopods affects the type of environment that the bugs prefer. Isopods have three body parts that include the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. They also have one of antennae, straightforward eyes, seven pairs of legs, seven disconnected segments on the thorax, and paired appendages at end of abdomen. The color of the bug can vary any where from dark gray to white without any patterns. Most isopods have gills in order to breathe, for that reason they usually live in areas with high humidity. These characteristics enable the bugs to survive in their environment (“Isopoda”).

In this lab, there are six different experiments to study the animal behavior of the Armadillidium vulgare. The first part involves categorizing the behavior of the pill bugs by making an ethogram. For the next five experiments, several different environments are tested to determine which environment the bugs prefer....
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