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 colours 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.
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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!
Otherwise, let’s get into some inspiration.
Entry Level Isopod Species
These species are all widely used in the industry, making them relatively inexpensive and easy to find.
Then again, 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)
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 make them an effective cleanup crew.
They’re super easy to care for and to breed – making them a perfect beginner isopod.
2 | Dairy Cow Isopods (Porcellio laevis)
Resembling a cow with their white bodies and brown spots, the Dairy Cow Isopod is a true staple.
Much like their bovine namesakes, they’re really active feeders… and much more active movers.
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!
3 | Dalmatian Isopods (Porcellio scaber)
See a theme here? This is the last animal themed one.
These subtly polka-dotted isopods are large, active and hardy.
The colouring actually comes from the same genetic mutation as the Dairy Cow, just a slightly different expression.
4 | Lava Isopods (Porcellio scaber)
The stunning mottled black and burnt orange carapace of the Lava Isopod comes in all sorts of patterns and shades.
Truly, there’s something unique for everyone!
They’re also great all-rounders – so an easy pickup for cleanup crews too.
5 | “Oreo Crumble” Isopods (Porcellionides pruinosus)
A fresh take on the popular Powder Blue Isopods, the “Oreo Crumble” isopod has a milky white body with random black markings.
This versatile species can handle a variety of terrarium conditions and they tend to adapt pretty quickly.
6 | Clown Isopods (Armadillidum klugii)
No “Funky Isopod Species” article would be complete without the species that’s 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 colour and character.
Though these aren’t necessarily the flashiest of the isopod species, they’re great beginner ones.
- Dwarf White Isopods (Trichorhina tomentosa)
- Powder Blue Isopods (Porcellionides pruinosus)
- Powder Orange Isopods (Porcellionides pruinosus)
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?
7 | Rubber Ducky Isopods (Cubaris sp)
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!
8 | Japanese “Magic Potion” Isopods (Armadillidium vulgare)
Surprisingly, these 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’s some serious sci-fi vibes coming off for me.
androids isopods are easy to take care of and so they’re perfect for your average terrarium/vivarium.
Though, they’re not the most prolific species which is partly why they’re still quite rare – and hard to breed more of your own.
9 | Sabah Isopods (Cubaris sp)
Sabah Isopods have a stunning gold-flecked camo-looking appearance.
Still, despite their aesthetic disguise, their subtle gilded colouration makes them really stand out as a unique species worth your attention.
10 | Shiro Utsuri Isopods (Cubaris sp)
Following on with all the hot new Cubaris species, Shiro Utsuri Isopods are one of the latest to come from Japan.
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.
11 | “High Yellow” Isopods (Porcellio haasi)
Possibly the brightest of the bunch, Porcellio haasi is famed for its distinctive acid-yellow colours and extra long tail.
In fact, these “High Yellow” Isopods can reach a few cm in size – so definitely one for the larger vivarium tanks!
12 | Papaya Isopods (Cubaris murina)
What’s not to love about an isopod names after a fruit?
Saving the best till last, these dusty pink critters are perhaps my favourite coloured isopod. Sometimes less is more, and their delicate pink/amber hues really caught my attention.
Plus, they make a great cleanup crew and they’re super easy to keep.
There seems to be a new variety of Cubaris species coming out all the time, so if the above aren’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.
Which of these is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!
Or, for more on how to use these terrarium custodians – check out my Cleanup Crew Guide to Isopods and Springtails.