All photographs copyright (2003-2013) by Kris H. Light

I didn't find this on one of my wildflower excursions, but it was so strange I just had to add it! When I was sweeping the patio at our house I found this <u>purple</u> pillbug (a.k.a. "roly-poly"). I added a normal-colored one for comparison. I have n...
I didn't find this on one of my wildflower excursions, but it was so strange I just had to add it! When I was sweeping the patio at our house I found this purple pillbug (a.k.a. "roly-poly"). I added a normal-colored one for comparison. I have no idea why it was so strangely colored! Another of life's little mysteries!

***Update*** The "little mystery" of the purple color may have been solved thanks to an internet search. According to a site I found called Arachnoboards someone posted a quote from the San Diego Natural History Museum Entomology page stating:

"The blue color you noted is due to an infection of the pillbug by an iridovirus; this disease which affects pillbugs in our area is being studied by scientists at the Universities of California at Riverside and Berkeley. The blue color is due to the refraction of light from the infected cells. The virus has been named the "isopod iridescent virus" or IIV." This icosahedral-shaped virus is found in the soil and infects isopods and terrestrial insect larvae. The virus is eventually fatal to the pillbug, this one died a couple of days after I took this photo.

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