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Pill bug Selective Breeding for breathing underwater

  1. Aug 6, 2007 #1

    they are terrestrial crustaceans, but they have gills, i know this might be kind of a stupid topic but could it be practical and it be possible to select the bugs with better gills then the rest, have them breed with each other, so on and so fourth?

    i imagine if you take say 200 pill bugs, and put them under water, and wait until say 75% of them die, the other half is going to have better gills, assuming all are equally stressed out, and all the water is the same temperature

    after you take the 50 that are still alive you can breed them up too 200 really really easy again, because they have tons of little babies, and since it would be controlled a lot of them wouldn't die like out in the wild

    so the you do it over again, and over again and whatever!

    so then you eventually get this strain of pill bug, that has the ability to live under water

    how freaking neat that would be to make?
    and then you could start selecting them to have other ability's such as having colors, i imagine you can make some yellow because they often have yellow specks on there shells.

    the only real problems i see is breeding them to much they go retarded, so you might have to have several sources of them and then also a limit between being able to breath in water but not land, or visa versa
    but surely they evolved from the ocean so i guess they over come that.

    I kinda want to do it, perhaps they would be fairly valuable because they would make a great food source for water pets, like fish and salamanders but... i think theres already a species that is more or less a pill bug that lives in water, but i want to make my own haha

    Once you have these water living pill bugs, if possible you could bread them with water louse http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=Water+louse&um=1&sa=N&tab=wi

    and then they would be hybridized and so any interbreeding or recessive traits would vanish, because only dominate traits carry down with hybrids, or so i have heard.

    well... maybe it would be fun to try... i think i might the only loss i see is a few dead bugs and dirt under your nails haha

    Actually, im not to sure if they can breath at all under water, but perhaps i can raise the humidity so high that only the ones with more active gills can work?
    or perhaps get cold water and bubble a ton of air into it, making sure it doesn't have any CO2 if that was needed and then just keep them in there

    Why would it matter if they were underwater or not if there gills were covered in water anyways?
    surely there is a maximum oxygen concentration that can be dissolved in water, no matter what size
    the only thing that would matter is how much surface area it has right and of course its temperature since hot water has less oxygen but cold water has more

    If you could get them to breath under water they would still have there genetics telling them to live on land, so perhaps you would need to selectively breed the ones that don't crawl out and the ones that stay underwater?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2007 #2


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  4. Aug 6, 2007 #3
    Its not a contest, i know it has

    i just want to my my own breed of them, that exist i even mentioned it earlier in my thread above... water louse

    but my question is how can i do it?
    is it even possible?
    what are the troubles i could run into?
    etc etc

    Oh yeah, and can bugs learn? or can they have happiness?
  5. Aug 6, 2007 #4
    i took cold water, shook it to help dissolve oxygen and put 1 pill bug in about 20oz of the cold shaken water, and it lived for 24 minutes, i took it out after it stopped moving and was unresponsive to touch.
    the pill bug didnt die, and now its acting normal, but slightly exhuasted haha
    but 24 minutes for 1 small bug under water is pretty good!

    Im going to boil some water, to get out all the oxygen, cool it to about the same tempurature and test it with the same bug, hopefully it should die a lot faster!

    this will tell me if it can get any oxygen out of water or if it cannot, because it does indeed die, or would die in water
  6. Aug 7, 2007 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    Humans have been doing what you are trying will sowbugs for centuries, only with more practical species like dogs and corn. It's called breeding. Select the few best (for your purposes) puppies or seeds that came from the best parent, let them grow and make more, repeat the selection process over several hundred generations.

    You could become the Luther Burbank of isopods :) Keep on trying.
  7. Aug 8, 2007 #6
    Yes i know how it works

    i need help tho with some problems!

    1. they die, but after a long time! they live possible up to ten hours in water!
    so this means they can breathe under water. Correct?

    so they're dieing from something and not suffocation. how do i determine what this is?
    Starvation? Absorbing to much water? Possible toxic things in the water such as remaining chlorine? Salts contaminations?

    So i guess i can keep them above water and not let them eat until the ones in water die. and see if there still alive a significant time later but the tempurature would have to be the same and i think that should be easy to do

    Use different water sources, see what one kills them first.

    Add salts to the water, or used distilled water

    See any problems with these ideas of solving possible problems? any ideas as to how els they could be dieing?
  8. Aug 8, 2007 #7

    jim mcnamara

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    You need to realize that isopod requirements for oxygen are very low. They live under rocks and fallen logs, where oxygen diffuses in slowly and where water can accumulate for long periods of time. For their "gills" to work they need to be moist. Sowbugs out in full sunshine don't last - which may be your problem, so: Keep them out of direct sun.

    If your water is chlorinated, that's the most likely culprit for what is killing them. Use distilled water - US $1.00 per gallon - it is in the laundry section of most supermarkets.
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