Philoscia muscorum (Scopoli, 1763)

Common name

Striped Woodlouse


GB IUCN status: Least Concern

ID Difficulty



This medium sized species (to 11mm) with a stepped body outline bearing a distinctive dark dorsal strip, runs rapidly when disturbed.  The antennae have three flagella segments and it lacks pleopodal lungs.
Confusion is most likely with Ligidium hypnorum (flagella of numerous bead-like segments) or Porcellionides cingendus (flagella of two segments, plus two pairs of pleopodal lungs). Orange colour forms have been mistaken for Androniscus dentiger.
It has recently become apparent that a second species of Philoscia - P. affinis - also occurs in Britain.
R.E. Jones
J.P. Richards
J.P. Richards
J.P. Richards
Keith Lugg
Keith Lugg
Nicola Garnham
Nicola Garnham
Nicola Garnham
Nicola Garnham
Warren Maguire

Distribution and Habitat

P. muscorum is an abundant species in lowland England and Wales, but becomes increasingly sparse in northern England and becomes restricted to coastal sites and low-lying river valleys in Scotland. However, the distribution of this species in Ireland, north Wales, north-west England and especially western Scotland is confused as the many sites shown on the map pre-date the discovery of P. affinis in Britain and Ireland. In western Scotland, at least, it is likely that many records will actually refer to this latter species Gregory (2020).

It has a strong preference for grassy sites of all sorts, and tends to avoid dense woodland (a habitat more suited to the recently discovered P. affinis). Although often numerous within grassland swards, it is most easily found beneath refuge sites, such as dead wood, stones or even dried cowpats.

This summary is based on the detailed account in Gregory (2009).



Gregory, S. (2009) Woodlice and Waterlice (Isopoda: Oniscidea & Asellota) in Britain and Ireland.  Field Studies Council/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.



BRC Code