Culturing Tropical Woodlice

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Equipment required:
  • Woodlice Starter Culture
  • Ventilated culturing container
  • Culture medium (50:50 coir/orchid bark)
  • Suitable food-source (porridge oats/ vegetable peelings/ premixed woodlice food)
  • Cardboard pieces and oak leaves

Woodlice can be cultured as a food but also make great tank custodians. Tropical and temperate species are available although the tropical species tend to be smaller and more suitable for feeding dart frogs.

They can be cultured in any ventilated container, although old 2L ice cream tubs are ideal. You can raise them on coco fibre alone or mixed with bark chips, leaves and/or undyed shredded cardboard. They thrive in warm conditions typically above 25°C (above a lighting unit is usually a good place).

Place pieces of cork bark or unprinted cardboard in the container to act as hides and feed on vegetable peelings, tropical fish flake or moistened instant oats (although again commercial food mixes are available).

Place culture in a warm dark place and mist regularly however they will not tolerate overly wet conditions (unlike springtails) and so water only at one end of the culture container, this will create a moisture gradient so the woodlice can regulate themselves.

Cultures may take a while to establish (up to 3 months) but once they do will produce large numbers of small soft woodlice which will be relished by your dart frogs. Woodlice will congregate on the underside of bark pieces or cardboard pieces so these can simply be tapped off into your vivaria.
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