11 Cool Types of Isopods to Collect (Species + Color Morphs)

If Andy Warhol was an animal, I think he might be an isopod

Just like his bold pop art creations, these little critters come in a huge variety of vivid colors and patterns. But they’re not mere walking canvases – they’re valuable cleaning custodians in terrariums and vivariums.

Not to mention, many people like to collect these for fun. Like pokemon cards, but better.

In this article, we’re going to run down 12 of the isopods with the funkiest designs (in a loose order of increasing rarity). 

So, stay till the end to see the rare masterpieces.

isopod in leaf litter

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A Quick Primer on Isopods

Just like Pokemon cards, there are going to be situations where some isopods are better than others.

In terrariums and vivariums, this means they might need more or less airflow, humidity, or moisture to thrive. Not to mention more specific diets or care requirements.

Of course, some isopods are super adaptable and will fit nicely into just about any setup (a Charizard, perhaps?), but others are going to be more niche picks.

So, all of this just to say – please do your research! (Even if that means starting with What is an Isopod?)

Otherwise, let’s get some inspiration.

Entry-Level Isopod Species 

These species are all widely used in the industry, making them relatively inexpensive and easy to find.

That said, some of these were the “hot new thing” once upon a time, so you can bet they’re still pretty funky!

1 | Zebra Isopod (Armadillidium maculatum)

Zebra isopods on cork bark
One of my Zebra Isopods having a Pride Rock moment here.

We’re starting the animal-themed trend here with the characteristic black and white stripes of the Zebra Isopods.

These guys are as active as they are bold.

So, you can expect to see them present and correct on your terrarium surfaces throughout the day. Plus, their busy nature makes them an effective cleanup crew.

They’re super easy to care for and to breed – making them a perfect beginner isopod.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Zebra Isopods.

We sell Yellow Zebra Isopods now too!

2 | Dairy Cow Isopods (Porcellio laevis)

dairy cow isopod on leaf
Dairy Cow Isopods are just as good at hiding as they are cleaning.

Resembling a cow with its white body and brown spots, the Dairy Cow Isopod is a true staple.

Much like their bovine namesakes, they’re really active feeders.

Dairy Cow Isopods are on the larger side, so they’re probably better for bigger tanks. Not to mention the fact that they are prolific breeders, so it won’t be long till you have a lot of them!

Check out the Giant Canyon Isopods for another large contender.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Dairy Cow Isopods.

3 | Lava Isopods (Porcellio scaber)

lava isopods on leaf
This little Lava Isopod is my favorite, I love its strong orange coloration.

The stunning mottled black and burnt orange carapace of the Lava Isopod comes in all sorts of patterns and shades (kind of like the Orange Koi Isopods in reverse).

Truly, there’s something unique for everyone!

They’re also great all-rounders – so an easy pickup for both pet isopods and cleanup crews, too.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Lava Isopods.

4 | Clown Isopods (Armadillidum klugii)

clown isopods on leaf litter
It’s certainly easy to pick Clown Isopods out.

No “Funky Isopod Species” article would be complete without the species that are literally referred to as the Clown Isopod!

Take one look at you’ll see why.

With contrasting white and yellow polka dots and an orange skirt, these isopods are bursting with color and character.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop “Dubrovnik” Clown Isopods.

5 | Orange Cream Isopods (Porcellionides pruinosus)

orange cream isopod
The Orange Cream Isopods are an amazing (and stylish) bioactive custodian.

A fresh take on the popular Powder Blue Isopods and Powder Orange Isopods, the “Orange Cream” morph has a milky white body with random brown markings.

This versatile species can handle a variety of terrarium conditions, and they tend to adapt pretty quickly. 

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Orange Cream Isopods.

6 | Panda King Isopods (Cubaris sp.)

panda king isopods on cork bark
Cute and on-trend.

The final animal-themed isopod – I promise!

Here, we have the Panda King Isopod, the highly regarded entry-level Cubaris species. They’re super cute, easy to keep, and a fraction of the price of their rarer cousins.

Thankfully, they’re also quite a bit easier to breed, so you’ll have a nice little family of pandas in no time!

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Panda King Isopods

7 | Armadillidium gestroi (Yellow Spotted Isopods)

Armadillidium gestroi isopods on sphagnum moss
Look at this majestic beast.

The Yellow Spotted Isopods come from the same family as the Clown Isopods.

Can you see the resemblance?

Though they’re actually a lot more active, easier to care for, and quite a bit larger, too – so they make a fantastic isopod pet.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Gestroi Isopods.

Honorary Mentions:

Though these aren’t necessarily the flashiest of the isopod species, they’re great beginner ones. 

Rare Isopod Species

Okay, now we’re getting onto the more “obscure” works of art.

Partly because they have some of the more unique markings but also because they’re often much fewer in number and, therefore, difficult to source.

That being said, being rare often just makes them more popular – right?

8 | Rubber Ducky Isopods (Cubaris sp)

rubber ducky isopod on twig
Rubber Ducky Isopods really are that lovely.

The isopod, the myth, the legend.

Honestly, the Rubber Ducky Isopod has been taking the industry by storm recently, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down.

With their cute little yellow faces and tails, this highly sought-after species really does look like a rubber ducky. Which is perhaps what gives them such universal appeal.

They’re brand new on the scene, and so breeders are only just discovering how to optimize their development and reproduction. So, be sure to grab these whenever you can!

Check out some of the many other Cubaris isopods while you’re at it.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Rubber Ducky Isopods.

9 | Japanese “Magic Potion” Isopods (Armadillidium vulgare)

My culture of Magic Potion Isopods actually has quite a subtle coloration.

Surprisingly, these Magic Potion Isopods are technically the same species as the common pill bug.

But, one look will show they’re clearly special.

With luminous yellow splashes piercing through their translucent white carapaces, there are some serious sci-fi vibes coming off for me.

These medium-sized androids isopods are easy to take care of so they’re perfect for your average terrarium/vivarium.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Japanese “Magic Potion” Isopods

10 | Shiro Utsuri Isopods (Nesodillo archangeli)

Shiro Utsuri isopods on leaf
These are Rae’s favorites; they’re so fun and inquisitive.

Shiro Utsuri Isopods are one of the latest designer isopods to come from Asia.

With “Shiro Utsuri” referring to the markings of a black and white Koi fish, these bright white isopods (particularly around their edges) with black flecks really fit the name.

We found these little guys to be super friendly and very active – perfect as a fun isopod pet!

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Shiro Utsuri Isopods.

11 | Papaya Isopods (Cubaris murina)ย 

Papaya Isopods (Cubaris murina) are a lovely creamy pink.

What’s not to love about an isopod named after a fruit?

Saving the best till last, these dusty pink critters are perhaps my favorite colored isopod. Sometimes less is more, and their delicate pink/amber hues really caught my attention.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Papaya Isopods.

Plus, Cubaris murina makes a great cleanup crew, and they’re super easy to keep – you can buy them here on our store.

Honorary Mentions:

There seems to be a new variety of Cubaris species coming out all the time, so if the above isn’t quite right for you – check out these:

Over to You

There are so many more cool-looking isopod species – I couldn’t name them all. 

But, hopefully, this list has piqued your interest.

Check out my isopod buying guide. Or, for more on how to use these terrarium custodians, check out my guide to the isopods and springtails cleanup crew combo.

3 thoughts on “11 Cool Types of Isopods to Collect (Species + Color Morphs)”

  1. I started a terrarium project about a year ago before I even knew about bioactive setups. I then acquired about a half dozen Lava isopods and have successfully increased their numbers to about 150+ while I continue to work on the terrarium. I have left side paralysis and am slowly getting it done with a DIY piezoelectric misting waterfall, with meandering stream and an upper catch pool and lower reptilian soaking pool. I noticed a few color morph throwbacks and separated them unto their own breeding container. I now have an unknown number of Lavas with orange and varying degrees of grey patchy splotching and 9 blemish free totally shiny dark gunmetal gray isopods which I breeding to add a colony with a striking contrast to the original Lavas.

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