Unfortunately, there isn’t really much info out there about pillbugs and other isopods – at least, not beyond the basic information of “they make good tank cleaners,” and “they are easy to care for.”I’m quite hesitant to add a creature to my tank that I don’t have prior experience with, so it was very pleasing to come across this book so I could do more research on them.The author’s really outdone himself on this one, as this is the ONLY serious guide to isopods that I’ve yet to come across.Not just that, but the book answered all my questions, such as which species of isopod can roll up into a ball and which cannot, whether or not I should be worried about massive overpopulation (as with snails), which species breed more quickly than others, and how to care for the different species of pillbug and sowbug.Not just that, but this book includes detailed information on individual cultivars that are commonly available for sale, such as the Giant Orange Sowbug and the Zebra Pillbug.This will definitely help me narrow down which species to choose for my tank.
While this book is a fantastic resource and I have to give it praise for that, there are a few little critiques I have for it.First off, it’s only about a hundred pages long, and the current price (at the time of this review) of $35 is a bit steep.Still, I understand that this is a niche topic, and publishing costs can be high for those who are independent or have a limited audience, so I can forgive that pretty easily.Secondly, I felt that the cover and binding were pretty high quality, and the color photos look good, but the pages are sadly ‘regularpaper’ pages instead of being nice, thick, glossy pages.Once again, though, that may not have been in the publishing budget.It’s too bad, because those lovely photos would just ‘pop’ on some glossy paper…Speaking of photos, some of the pics have little to do with the text, such as the random pics on pg. 1617.Also, on page 25, he's describing the physical identifying differences between two species of terrestrial isopod, but the pics on the adjacent page features neither of them – which is a baffling choice.So, I guess I could say that I wish the photos in some spots were slightly more relevant.
Nonetheless, despite a few minor flaws, I still heartily recommend this book if you have any interest in vivariumcrafting or isopods.It’s a great and valuable resource, and honestly, the only serious book on isopods that I’ve yet come across.I’ve noticed that the author has written several other books on various other critters (such as millipedes, whipscorpions, spiders, etc.).I do wish he had an interest in land snails so I could buy that book, too – but oh well, can’t get everything in life! The material inside is worthwhile, though it makes it feel like the target audience is children beginning in the hobby.Loads of great pictures throughout will keep anyone flipping pages.The reason for the 1star review is the physical quality of the book.Paper is very cheap, there are creases on nearly every page (in the center somehow), ink transfers smudged, and a host of other irritating things one doesn’t expect when buying a hardcover book these days.Would have already returned it if I didn’t need it for some project first. A good book for the bare basics. Most of the information covered in here can easily be found online, the species descriptions are extremely general and not helpful for care, and a lot of the information is extremely dated. A lot of new species, morphs, and care tricks have been discovered in the last 5 years, and the community has more opportunity to communicate and learn from each other. This book was written before the discovery of many species (no cubaris species are listed at all) and the author asserts that it is impossible to breed onsicus asellus in captivity. It's an interesting read, and might get you pointed in the right direction if you're completely new, but otherwise not worth it.