Photographing Isopods for Identification

What are the best ways to photograph isopods to get them identified?


I’m not an expert but I would recommend good angles and a few zoomed in shots.

Assuming you’re referring to terrestrial isopods and able to do some form of macrophotography. Shape of the head/antennae, shape of the segments at the back (telson and uropods), if possible get it on its back so that the ‘plepodal lungs’ can be counted. (I guess the same things would apply to marine ones)


How would one do this for ones like Armadillidiidae, where they ball up and hide the relevant bits? Is the only option just use a rapid-photo setting to take multiple photos in succession and hopefully the good bits will be visible in one of the frames?

Focus on the gap and you’ll get quite a lot of information about the front and back end at least. I don’t know whether there’s any way to encourage them to relax.


If you pick up pillbugs a certain way by the side edges you can hold them without inducing conglobulation. Alternatively you can just flip it over while it’s balled and put it on a smooth surface, when it unrolls it will typically be upside down.

With that being said, A. vulgare doesn’t need underside pics for ID.


Thanks for using that word too, forgot that they had such an awesomely specific word for that: conglobulation.


It depends on a taxon, I try to photograph top and side general view, head, first body segments from the side, last segments, then pick it up, photograph general view of the underside, lower part where they can have eggs, if you can, focus on pores and some specific parts on the side of the segment on the underside are frequently asked from me by iders.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.