View Poll Results: I usually call that thing a:
Woodlouse 16 8.74%
Pill bug 46 25.14%
Pill millipede 0 0%
Armadillo bug 2 1.09%
Potato bug 18 9.84%
Roly-poly or rollie-pollies 62 33.88%
Sow bug 3 1.64%
Doodle bug 2 1.09%
Butchy boy 0 0%
Cheeselog 0 0%
Slater 7 3.83%
Tomato bug 0 0%
Wood bug 2 1.09%
Carpenter 0 0%
Boat-builder 0 0%
Terrestrial isopod 0 0%
Dillo beetles 0 0%
"Eek! Just kill it!" 3 1.64%
Other/Something not listed here 5 2.73%
I have more than one name for that thing 10 5.46%
I use the scientific name of the specific species I encounter 1 0.55%
I don't have a name for that thing 6 3.28%
Voters: 183. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-25-2013, 11:59 AM
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What do you call this insect?

One of these guys (WARNING: close-up picture of insects, if you dislike that sort of thing), but your local variety may vary depending on where you are in the world.

You know, the little dark gray oval guys that roll up into a ball when you mess with them.

These are generally recognized as "woodlice" but there are hundreds of different species, and almost everyone has a different name for them; what do you call them?

A poll may be forthcoming.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:02 PM
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I call them terrestrial isopods.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:03 PM
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They are not insects.

I used to call them pill bugs, but now I like calling them roly-polies because I think it's a cute name. I don't think the bugs are that cute. I just like that name.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:04 PM
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Pill bugs and sow bugs are the names I have heard for them. I'm in the USA.

Last edited by Crotalus; 06-25-2013 at 12:05 PM. Reason: Location, location, location.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:06 PM
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Potato bug or roly-poly.

Last edited by TruCelt; 06-25-2013 at 12:08 PM.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmilyG View Post
They are not insects.
I know, it's just the simplest description that everyone will understand.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:10 PM
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Pill bug or potato bug.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:11 PM
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Roly-poly. I am from Louisiana and that is all we ever called them.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:11 PM
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Rollie-pollies of course! That's the only name cute enough for them! I love those little guys so much. They're so darn adorable.

Edit: And no. They're not potato bugs. Potato bugs are monstrosities of nature that should be eradicated from this planet. Click at your own risk.

Last edited by AngelSoft; 06-25-2013 at 12:13 PM.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmilyG View Post
They are not insects. . . .
Well, yeah, they are.. I know what you mean, but usage frequently varies from phylogeny.
When I was a kid, I thought they were millipedes. I think the first thing I ever read about them they were called 'pill bugs.' It was a surprise when I found out as an adult they were crustaceans.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:13 PM
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Ontario, Canada and I've always called them potato bugs.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:16 PM
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I've only ever called them (or heard them called) woodlice.

I am aware that there are regional names for them here in the UK, but I've never actually heard these names used.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:17 PM
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Dillo Beetles.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelsoft View Post
rollie-pollies of course! That's the only name cute enough for them! I love those little guys so much. They're so darn adorable.

Edit: And no. They're not potato bugs. Potato bugs are monstrosities of nature that should be eradicated from this planet. click at your own risk.
holysweetmotherofcrapwhydidiclickthatlink!!!!!!!!!
Old 06-25-2013, 12:40 PM
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I called them pill bugs, and called something else wood lice/louse, though I'm guessing they're related.

This is what I called wood lice. Like a pill bug/rolly polly but "flat" and I don't recall ever seeing it really "roll up."
Old 06-25-2013, 12:49 PM
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More than one name, but ones that do appear on your list: Roly-poly or pill bug. I grew up in the South, Midwest, and Northeast, so there could be more than one regional influence at work.

Edit: and a doodle-bug is an ant lion, is it not?

Last edited by Sailboat; 06-25-2013 at 12:50 PM.
Old 06-25-2013, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
Edit: and a doodle-bug is an ant lion, is it not?
I dunno. I made the list from some of the first responses here and whatever I found in the first few Google results. Many of those are what Mental Floss says people in England, Canada, and Australia call them, and I can only take their word for it.
Old 06-25-2013, 01:25 PM
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The only names I've ever heard for them are pill bug and roly-poly.
Old 06-25-2013, 01:30 PM
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Roly-poly or pill-bug
Old 06-25-2013, 01:38 PM
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Totally a cheeselog.
Old 06-25-2013, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobDog View Post
I am aware that there are regional names for them here in the UK, but I've never actually heard these names used.
They're slaters, in the West of Scotland. No idea why.
Old 06-25-2013, 01:51 PM
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Trilobite.
Old 06-25-2013, 01:52 PM
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Pillbugs or Rolly-Pollys.

Sowbugs (or Salbugs, as I heard it) were the similar, but slightly larger and lighter gray ones that didn't roll up into balls.

Ever since reading The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, I've also called them Doodlebugs, but I didn't grow up with that name.

(Southern CA, but might have gotten the nomenclature from my Iowa/South Dakota grandparents.)
Old 06-25-2013, 02:02 PM
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I use its correct latin scientific name: roly-poly.

When I was a kid, we used to have races with them.
Old 06-25-2013, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
When I was a kid, we used to have races with them.
They're great bugs for kids to play with. They don't bite, they're not "dirty," and they don't even make a mess if you squish 'em.
Old 06-25-2013, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
I use its correct latin scientific name: roly-poly.

Me too. Grew up in So Cal.
Old 06-25-2013, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinnamon Imp View Post
They're slaters, in the West of Scotland. No idea why.
Ah well I'm not surprised by anything from the land of the choochter and the tatty bogle.
Old 06-25-2013, 02:40 PM
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Pill bug.

This being like, a critical question, I wonder why I am not allowed to vote in the poll. Did it expire in less than four hours? Am I not accepted on the bug-naming protocols approved by the Perfect Master?
Old 06-25-2013, 03:00 PM
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When our daughter was little, she always called them ball bugs. So, we stuck with that. We still call them ball bugs some 20+ years later.
Old 06-25-2013, 03:23 PM
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I grew up in San Diego. I knew "sow bug," "potato bug," and "pill bug," but I called them sow bugs. I never heard roly-poly growing up, by far the most common now. We also had the abomination of real potato bugs, linked upthread, but I never knew a name for them.

Why are they called "sow bugs," anyway?
Old 06-25-2013, 05:44 PM
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Pill bug in the picture. Sow bug is the kind that look similar but can't roll. Wood louse I know is the scientific term that nobody really uses. I've never seen a pill millipede to my knowledge. It's okay to call them rollie-pollies... if you're four. Seriously though, that name annoyed me even as a kid.

Doodle bug is not a word I've ever heard used where I'm from, but I understand it as referring to ant lions as well.

AngelSoft, you're beginning to make me regret installing the SDMB Greasemonkey image script. Damn potato bugs...

Then you'd get the pill/sow bugs who were purple, presumably from some toxin. And sometimes you'd find one with hundreds of writhing young clutching her underside...

Last edited by thelurkinghorror; 06-25-2013 at 05:46 PM.
Old 06-25-2013, 05:56 PM
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That is a sow bug, which is different from a pill bug. Sow bugs are larger, and don't roll into as tight a ball as a pill bug.

This is what we called a potato bug.

Southern California.

Last edited by Fear Itself; 06-25-2013 at 06:00 PM.
Old 06-25-2013, 06:00 PM
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Once I was helping to fix up a house and when we were working on the porch, I suddenly heard a group scream. "Aagh! Is it poisonous? Is it poisonous?" I turned around, and looked at what a half-dozen people were pointing at.

It was a pill bug. I told them it wasn't poisonous. I hope I was right. Nobody died...that day.
Old 06-25-2013, 06:06 PM
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Woodlouse, Pill bug, Roly-poly, though I've heard Sow bug too.
Old 06-25-2013, 06:14 PM
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Roly poly, occasionally pill bug.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
Potato bug or roly-poly.
Potato bug? interesting, that was what we always called these guys. Which I now see is officially called a "Jerusalem cricket".

Quote:
In California, a common nickname for the insect is 'potato bug', originating from the idea that the bug could grow much larger and eat a potato whole.
Huh, so that's where the name comes from. I thought it was from being brown and squishy looking.

Last edited by Der Trihs; 06-25-2013 at 06:15 PM.
Old 06-25-2013, 06:28 PM
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For some reason I can't even figure out, we call those things "water bugs". They don't show up in the water, they don't have anything more to do with water than any other bug, but that's what we call them.
Old 06-25-2013, 06:38 PM
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Water bugs to me are generally Nepomorpha, but more specifically these creepy fuckers. Who can bite. Hard. I don't know if I've ever actually seen one though, don't think they were native, but never used the term for water boatmen, backswimmers, or water striders I did see.

I guess "water bug" is also used for cockroaches. While vacationing in Florida, I had a damn American cockroach (the bigger ones) drop on me in the shower. I am not ashamed by my shrieks!
Old 06-25-2013, 06:41 PM
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"Cute!" should be a poll option.
Old 06-25-2013, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
AngelSoft, you're beginning to make me regret installing the SDMB Greasemonkey image script. Damn potato bugs...
I actually have a creepy ass story about those little buggers. In the late 90s, I worked for daycare centers. One day, someone found a potato bug and thought it would be neat to show the kids. Now, these kids were all about 2-3 years old. We had an insect cage that someone had made out of window screen material. And it wasn't the normal type that tears easily. They had made it out of the thick stuff that's really strong. So we had it in the cage, and showed the kids. It was about naptime, so we set it off to the side and planned to release it after nap was over. Well, nap time's over. We go to get the bug. It's gone. Little fucker had chewed a hole right through the screen mesh and was somewhere in the room. We never did find him either.

And for the love of god. Never. Ever. EVER step on one. The sound plus the sensation of them being crushed under your shoe on top of the resulting mess will give you the squeebies for days to come.
Old 06-25-2013, 06:59 PM
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Aussie here. Pretty much everybody calls them slater bugs. Kids sometimes call them rolly pollys
Old 06-25-2013, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
Quote:
In California, a common nickname for the insect is 'potato bug', originating from the idea that the bug could grow much larger and eat a potato whole.
Huh, so that's where the name comes from. I thought it was from being brown and squishy looking.
There are some that can get pretty damn big.

Then of course there are the giant isopods.

Last edited by DCnDC; 06-25-2013 at 08:23 PM.
Old 06-25-2013, 08:27 PM
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I mostly called them potato (tater) bugs when I was a kid, or roll-up bugs. I spent many happy hours playing with them, and to this day, will go out of my way to keep from hurting them/
Old 06-25-2013, 08:28 PM
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When I was a kid, we called them 'potato bugs'. Then I found out what a potato bug actually looked like, and started calling them 'pill bugs'.
Old 06-25-2013, 08:33 PM
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I grew up (in the Southwest) calling them "roly-polies", but adults around me always called them "pill bugs".
Old 06-25-2013, 08:45 PM
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I voted for roly-poly, with pill bug and sow bug as runners up. I wonder what fluke of evolution makes them tip over so easily. Is it because their ancestors didn't have to walk on sidewalks or smooth surfaces?

Last edited by blondebear; 06-25-2013 at 08:49 PM.
Old 06-25-2013, 09:35 PM
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They were always slaters when I was a kid, in New Zealand (we even studied them in science class, and that's what the teacher called them). I now call them woodlice, as it seems to be more generically understood what I'm referring to.
Old 06-25-2013, 09:53 PM
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I just polled four twenty-somethings, three of whom grew up in the southwest and one who grew up in Michigan, and the consensus is that it's a roly-poly, although they've heard it called a pill bug.
Old 06-25-2013, 09:59 PM
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Hmm, I seem to be the only one who calls them wood bugs. I'm from Vancouver Island, I wonder if it's a regional thing.
Old 06-25-2013, 10:03 PM
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Used to call them rollie-pollies or bowling ball bugs.
Old 06-25-2013, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloatyGimpy View Post
I wonder if it's a regional thing.
If there's one thing this poll proves, it's that it's clearly a regional thing.
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