Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp


Cover Story

When we think of animal companions, we usually think of Dogs, Cats, or even Lizards. But today, we will shine a spotlight on one of the more unique animal companions: the Isopod. WHAT ARE ISOPODS? We talked to Jeruel, an engineer with a passion for Isopods, about what they are and how to care for them. Firstly, Isopods are not bugs; they’re more closely related to Crustaceans, such as Lobsters and Crabs. According to him, there are numerous species of Isopods, and they have a very wide range of colors from black to bright yellow and even white. There are two types. The first one is composed of Marine Isopods who are found deep in the ocean. They appear large and ancient. Secondly, there are the Terrestrial Isopods, described by Jeruel as “cute, colorful, and very active.” Terrestrial Isopods are found practically everywhere; they’re the ones seen under dead wood, for instance. For him, Isopods are low maintenance, which means they don’t require that much space and procuring their food is easy. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE! Based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, there are about 10,000 species of Isopods in the world! No wonder Isopods are ubiquitous. Isopods can be a Reptile’s best friend. They often like being the clean-up crew for a scaly creature’s terrarium and can coexist with other animals, such as Dogs, Cats, Birds, and Fishes. Jeruel describes his own experience: “Each one has their own secluded spaces; hence, they harmoniously coexist.” Isopods bring joy to Jeruel. He enjoys watching his Isopods going about in the terrarium and finds solace in watching them munching or walking about in their habitat. He also enjoys seeing new Isopods under logs or rocks. His fondest memory is seeing Isopod offspring with odd patterns or coloring. WILD VERSUS CAPTIVE According to Jeruel, most of the available Isopods in the market are captive-bred or domesticated. The difference between wild and domesticated Isopods is that wild Isopods are sensitive. They need a SPECIFIC MIXTURE of substrate and diet, and they don’t adapt well when kept indoors.