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Dwarf White Isopods (Trichorhina tomentosa) Tropical Isopod / Woodlouse Culture

Dwarf White Isopods (Trichorhina tomentosa) Tropical Isopod / Woodlouse Culture

T. tomentosa are very small white, oval, soft-bodied isopods that can grow to around 2-3mm and live for 2 -3 years. This species of isopod belongs to the family Platyarthridae which are characterised by having no external lungs, very small compound eyes, and cannot roll into a ball (conglobate). Individuals in this species are all female and they reproduce asexually by parthenogenesis. One female can have up to 4 litters a year and can have between 25-200 babies per litter, which is great for starting a prolific colony within your set-up, but take care not to accidentally introduce these to other isopod colonies as they will quickly outcompete them!


These isopods are soil-dwellers, feeding on rotting wood, leaf litter, and organic waste in the substrate whilst serving as food for smaller invertebrates, reptiles, and amphibians. These prefer temperatures between 21-29˚C and a humidity range of 80-90%, making them ideal for tropical set-ups with damp, shaded areas. Size of enclosure is not much of an issue with this species, but we suggest checking your set-ups substrate to monitor the colonies growth. We would like to note that although T. tomentosa are an excellent clean-up crew, this species can quickly cause infestations in set-ups they may not have been introduced to, outcompeting the other clean-up custodians for food and space. If culturing, keep this species by itself, or if adding to a set-up, start with a small colony and monitor their progression. We suggest adding any clean-up crew 7-14 days prior to adding other inhabitants, to ensure the colony has enough time to establish itself within their new environment.



  • Adult size: 2-3mm
  • Lifespan: 2-3 years 
  • Status: captive bred 
  • Place of Origin: tropical Central and South America, now distributed worldwide 
  • Temperature: 21-29˚C
  • Humidity: 70-90%
  • Diet: Hardwood leaf litter (oak, beech, hazel etc), rotten hardwood, flake soil, organic waste/ faeces, sphagnum moss, mushrooms, variety of fruit and vegetables (favourites include cucumber, squash, and sweet potato), sepia/ calcium supplement, protein source (fish flakes, shrimp pellets, nutritional yeast)
  • We suggest keeping T. tomentosa between 20-23˚C and 80-90% humidity for best results. We keep our large colony in a 30x20x20cm tank, but a much smaller tank of 10x10x15cm can be used for a starter colony  


  • Like other isopods, these need a humidity gradient which can be achieved by making sure there are dry and damp areas in their environment. The best way is to provide sphagnum moss or live moss on one half of the enclosure as a 'hydration station' and keep this constantly moist. We suggest keeping the substrate moist (not soaking!) and provide plenty of bark pieces and leaf litter to allow them to seek out dryer spots.


  • Make sure you use a high-quality substrate (no coco coir!) such as our Premium Millipede Edible Substrate as this will be the main food component for your isopods, and provide crushed cuttlebone or eggshells for calcium, as well as a good quality protein source once a week for optimal health. We prefer to feed vegetables to our isopods to help deter fruit fly and fungus gnat infestations, but that’s just our choice! Like many invertebrates one of their favourites is cucumber which we provide in slices and replace once completely eaten, which is around once a week.


  • We consider this species a top choice for shadier, tropical bio-active set-ups. These will spend most of their time within the substrate, making them a shy-natured species that tend to leave other inhabitants alone.  
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