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Discovery Magazine 10/1/2013

How Do Pill-Bugs Roll Up in a Ball?

by  Digger Doug

Dear Andrew,

God has created a lot of interesting creatures for us to study. One of those is the pill bug. Some people call it the “roly poly.” Did you know, however, that the pill bug is not a bug at all? It is actually a crustacean like a crab or a shrimp. It has a hard outer shell and special stomach muscles underneath the shell. When it is threatened, it contracts those muscles and rolls itself into a small ball. This process is called conglobation [kon-glow-BAY-shun]. The tiny balled-up “bug” looks like a little pill. That is why it is called a pill bug. Mother pill bugs have a pouch like a marsupial that can carry over 100 babies at one time. The next time you see this little crustacean, it can remind you that our awesome God has made small things for us to study and enjoy. Thanks, Andrew, for your question!

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