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UK Nature > Woodlice > Oniscus asellus
Common Name: Common Shiny Woodlouse
Scientific Name: Oniscus asellus
Oniscus asellus, or the Common Shiny Woodlouse, is one of the largest and most common species of woodlouse in the British Isles and Western and Northern Europe, growing to lengths of 16 mm and widths of 6 mm.
They are generally flatter than other large woodlice, and their bodies are usually brownish-black in colour, with paler mottling and very pale edges to their segmental plates. Their carapace is usually rather shiny, while the underside is pale. The species can also be identified by its long pointed telson. Oniscus asellus has a strong exoskeleton and seven pairs of legs, but are born with six pairs. They have antennae that reach about half of their body length, which they use to feel around in their dark environment.
The species is particularly fond of rotting wood and are one of the commonest species found under garden logs and stones in their range. They eat vegetables, various types of detritus such as dead plant and animal matter, including rotting wood.
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