Weird brown bugs in moist spot

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

When I lifted some twiggy cuttings that har got wet in the rain I found several of these. Many soon crawled away and hid again. There were a few that had curled up into a ball. What are these?

Thumbnail by Dinu Thumbnail by Dinu
Minot, ND

These are terrestrial crustaceans in the order Isopoda; they occur world-wide and can go by a wide variety of common names, including woodlice, pillbugs, sowbugs, roly polys, and rock slaters. They breathe through gills that must be kept moist, which is why they usually are found in dark, damp habitats. There also are both fresh-water and salt water isopods; some marine species are parasitic on fishes (see, and some bottom dwellers can reach massive sizes - 30 centimeters or more! (
A 2012 report ( stated that 311 species of isopods were known from India; I suspect that number has increased.

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

Very interesting bug,, Ed.

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