pill bug


pill bug
any of various small terrestrial isopods, esp. of the genera Armadillidium and Oniscus, which can roll themselves up into a spherical shape.
[1835-45, Amer.]

* * *

Any species of terrestrial crustacean in the genera Armadillidium and Armadillo (both in the order Isopoda), native to Europe and introduced worldwide.

Pill bugs (sometimes called wood lice) resemble tiny armadillos in appearance and behaviour; they have a gray, oval body covered with platelike armour and, when disturbed, roll into a ball. They are about 0.75 in. (19 mm) long. Pill bugs live in dry, sunny places, in dry leaf litter, and on forest edges. See also sow bug.

Pill bugs (Armadillidium vulgare)

E.S. Ross

* * *

 any of the terrestrial crustaceans of the families Armadillididae and Armadillidae (order Isopoda). When disturbed, the pill bug rolls itself up into a tiny ball. Like the related sow bug (q.v.), it is sometimes called the wood louse. For mollusks also known as pill bugs, see chiton.

      The common pill bug Armadillidium vulgare (family Armadillididae) is about 17 millimetres (0.7 inch) long. The gray body, with its platelike segments, somewhat resembles a miniature armadillo, an armoured mammal that also curls into a ball when disturbed. A. vulgare occurs in dry, sunny places, in leaf litter, and on the edges of wooded areas. Originally found in Europe, it now occurs worldwide. A. nasatum, native to northern Europe, has been introduced into North America. Armadillo officinalis (family Armadillidae), which attains lengths of 19 millimetres (0.75 inch), is native to southern Europe.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pill bug — Pill Pill, n. [F. pilute, L. pilula a pill, little ball, dim. of L. pila a ball. Cf. {Piles}.] 1. A medicine in the form of a little ball, or small round mass, to be swallowed whole. [1913 Webster] 2. Figuratively, something offensive or nauseous …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pill bug — pill′ bug n. ent any of various small terrestrial isopods, esp. of the genera Armadillidium and Oniscus, that can roll themselves up into a spherical shape • Etymology: 1835–45, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • pill bug — ☆ pill bug n. any of various isopods capable of rolling up into a ball, as a common species (Armadillidium vulgare) found in damp places …   English World dictionary

  • pill bug — noun small terrestrial isopod with a convex segmented body that can roll up into a ball • Hypernyms: ↑woodlouse, ↑slater • Member Holonyms: ↑Armadillidium, ↑genus Armadillidium * * * noun : wood louse 1 …   Useful english dictionary

  • pill-bug — /ˈpɪl bʌg/ (say pil bug) noun a terrestrial isopod or woodlouse (genus Armadillidium) of Britain and Europe, capable of rolling itself into a ball …   Australian English dictionary

  • pill bug — noun Etymology: 2pill; from its rolling into a ball when disturbed Date: 1843 wood louse; especially a wood louse capable of curling itself into a ball …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • pill bug — noun Any of very many terrestrial crustaceans, of the family Armadillidiidae, including the woodlice, that can roll themselves up into a protective ball Syn: roly poly …   Wiktionary

  • pill bug —   Pokipoki …   English-Hawaiian dictionary

  • Bug — (b[u^]g), n. [OE. bugge, fr. W. bwg, bwgan, hobgoblin, scarecrow, bugbear. Cf. {Bogey}, {Boggle}.] 1. A bugbear; anything which terrifies. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Sir, spare your threats: The bug which you would fright me with I seek. Shak. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bug word — Bug Bug (b[u^]g), n. [OE. bugge, fr. W. bwg, bwgan, hobgoblin, scarecrow, bugbear. Cf. {Bogey}, {Boggle}.] 1. A bugbear; anything which terrifies. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Sir, spare your threats: The bug which you would fright me with I seek. Shak …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.