Wood lice is much more important than you think

Wood lice is much more important than you think

When you think of woodlice, do you also think of a sneaky, gray-scaled monster? The poor animal also seems to be systematically ignored by science. It now seems unjustified. Because these invertebrates play a crucial role in ecosystems. It’s time to put the lobster cousin back on his deserved pedestal.

What distinguishes wood lice?

in A study published today from Kobe University in Japan Researchers show how important small invertebrates are to nature. Discovery? Woodlice eat plant seeds and often excrete them completely intact. This is useful, because the seeds can make new plants.

Why is this so special? Mammals and birds frequently participate in seed dispersal. But woodlice are only a small animal that has been little studied for this role in the ecosystem. The researchers were surprised that the seeds could still be used through the reptile’s small digestive system. The woodlice now holds the record as the smallest disperser of ingested seeds.

Woodlice is like clean

Therefore, they are the most difficult seeds for woodlice to eat. Japanese scientists focused their research on a small white plant of the Heath family, which is found in East Asia (Low monotrobastrum). This dragon-like plant eats fungi and has small, tough seeds. Woodlice bring those seeds to places the average bird wouldn’t venture: into damp crevices in the basement, for example, where the plant can feed on plenty of fungi.

In addition to this Asian plant, our Dutch gardens can also be grateful to woodlice. They are real scavengers, eating dead plant remains in the soil and thoroughly moving your garden. Their droppings also contribute to soil enrichment. Their urine too? No, woodlice don’t urinate at all, oddly enough. It gets its name from the persistent myth that eating woodlice helps prevent bedwetting.

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It is a very useful animal after all, the woodlouse. But don’t eat this food… Eating woodlice with breakfast will not help you get rid of hay fever.

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