GARDEN SLATER

Porcellionides pruinosus (Brandt)

[Isopoda: Porcellionidae]

Article by Bruce Gow

gardnslatr

“No one likes getting rid of pests as much as we do.” – Bruce Gow


Adult: Slaters are approximately 10 mm long. The body is elongate-oval and bluish-grey. Slaters are somewhat flattened but may roll into a ball when disturbed. The body is divided into a head (cephalon), thorax (pereion) and abdomen (pleon). Slaters have 1 pair of eyes and 2 pair of antennae on the head. The first pair of antennae are small and inconspicuous. The second pair of antennae are large, segmented, used as sensory receptors and usually referred to as the antennae. The thorax has 7 segments each bearing a pair of legs. The abdomen has 6 segments with appendages used in copulation and as sensory receptors.

Reproduction&Life-cycle: Adult females retain eggs (up to 100) in a brood pouch. Juveniles are similar to adults but are smaller, less pigmented and without sexual organs. Juveniles undergo 5 moults to reach adulthood. Moulting occurs in two stages. The posterior half of the skin is shed and 2-3 days later the anterior half is shed. Isopods in the process of moulting appear multicolored.

Distribution:Porcellionides pruinosus is a cosmopolitan arthropod that has been distributed via commerce. The species is probably endemic to Europe and adventive to Australia.

PestStatus:The Garden Slater is common in gardens under bricks, stones, flower pots, timber, bark and occasionally enters homes. Garden Slater(s) feed on decaying plant material and will attack seedlings and young plants.


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