Lesson I learned today: Roly Polies are not actually insects. They are instead terrestrial crustaceans.
The roly poly has been a part of of my life for as long as I can remember, possibly as young as 3 or 4. I have always been fascinated with nature and love being in it. As a child my cousin, Brandi, and I would collect roly polies each summer every time I visited my grandmother's. I have such fond memories of watching the cute little ones ball up and then try to run away before we scooped them up again to see them ball up again. We always called them roly poly bugs, but as of today, I know they aren't really bugs.
Isaac recently has become interested in learning different types of bugs and he was calling the bug he found today a beetle. When I realized it was a roly poly I went to my National Audubon Society Insect and Spider Field Guide to help him with the scientific name (I was a biology major in college after all!). After not being able to locate it in my field guide, I turned to my Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. Again I was unsuccessful. So I turned to the internet where Wikipedia informed me the tiny roly poly was definitely not a beetle. In fact, it is not even a bug at all, but a crustacean. And all these years I thought they were bugs. I even took entomology in college for goodness sake! :)
The new things my kids teach me and point out to me intentionally or not are on a daily basis. :) Thanks to Isaac I now know all about the roly poly, or Armadillidiidae.
Isaac with Mr. Roly Poly The Crustacean
I also learned that they can be kept as pets. Let's not tell Isaac though because he definitely would want to keep the next roly poly he finds. He had a very difficult time letting his Mr. Roly Poly go today, even after handling him for 2 hours. :)