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It has recently come to my attention that the "importation, interstate movement and environmental release" of all non-native isopod species (and any possible plant pest that is not explicitly excluded from the requirements) is regulated in the US.


Details on the USDA page are lacking, but a member of another forum was kind enough to share an email with USDA, which I've attached here.

The most important tidbit I get from that email is that if the seller has a PPQ 526 permit in the buyer's state, then the buyer does not need one.

The species for which a simple permit can be obtained are, AFAIK, these:

Armadillidium klugii
Armadillidium maculatum
Armadillidium nasatum
Armadillidium vulgare
Atlantoscia floridiana
Cubaris marina
Oniscus asellus
Porcellio dilatatus
Porcellio laevis
Porcellio scaber
Porcellionides floria
Porcellionides pruinosus
Trachelipus rathkii
Venezillo parvus


Other species, such as other Cubaris sp., I understand to require an inspected containment facility as a condition of the permit. I've emailed USDA for clarification on that point.

There are exceptions for other feeder insects (Acheta domestica, Bombyx mori, Drosophila melanogaster, Galleria mellonella, Gromphadorhina portentosa, Hippodamia convergens, Odontotaenius disjunctus, Spirobolus spp, Tenebrio molitor, Tribolium confusum and Zophobas morio.):

 

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As someone who deals with APHIS PPQ permits in a professional capacity (zookeeper for regulated insects); the process for a private individual to get one is lengthy and tedious, but doable as long as you don't need an inspected containment facility. If that's needed, it's not worth your trouble. Double doors/vestibule area, screening on all vents, etc, can get prohibitively expensive for the private hobbyist. There are 'levels' of containment, but if they need to physically come out and look at your setup, the odds of you being able to get one to pass inspection probably aren't great.


And legally, while it is only on the seller to have a permit for a transaction (I believe), it's best practices to ensure both parties have a permit for the regulated species. A lot of people seem to think that this is all overkill, but invasive inverts are no joke and people who ignore the regulations are why we have a large number of invasive species to begin with.
 

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Most of those are living in the wild here in the USA. Those shouldn't require any permit, correct?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Most of those are living in the wild here in the USA. Those shouldn't require any permit, correct?
No, only native species are exempt. Naturalized species fall under the permit requirements.
 
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I guess a follow up question is which species are "native"?
I don't have a comprehensive list. @fishingguy12345 ? I presume the number of native species is pretty small. Some vendors have isopods categorized as 'native', but this one, for example, has introduced species listed there.
 

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I don't have a comprehensive list. @fishingguy12345 ? I presume the number of native species is pretty small. Some vendors have isopods categorized as 'native', but this one, for example, has introduced species listed there.
I'm really not much help on what's "native" in the USA and what's not, sorry. The site you referenced also has spelling mistakes in the scientific names, so I would take all the information on it with a grain of salt. (The page you linked to is North American Isopods, not necessarily ones native to the USA)

I would assume that the number of truly native species is quite small.

Armadillidium nasatum, porcellio dilitatus ,
Atlantoscia floridana, Cylisticus convexus, ONISCUS ASELLUS are all native to the USA, as far as I know.
 

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I would assume that the number of truly native species is quite small.

Armadillidium nasatum, porcellio dilitatus ,
Atlantoscia floridana, Cylisticus convexus, ONISCUS ASELLUS are all native to the USA, as far as I know.
Yeah, I imagine the "native" list isn't long. Almost all the species circulating around are non-native. I guess that's why you can often find them in super high abundance in some places -- because they didn't evolve here with predators.

I imagine the "dwarf" species are on the permit list too?
 

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Trichorhina tomentosa: "Native to tropical regions throughout the Americas" (Wikipedia). Not very helpful.

I don't know that the dwarf purple have been ID'ed to the species level.
 

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As an end user, with almost zero knowledge of isopods, other than wanting to get a few for various terrariums, is it safe to just find an online seller within the USA and buy from them? Can I assume they will have complied with any applicable regulations in order to remain in business?
 

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Can I assume they will have complied with any applicable regulations in order to remain in business?
No. This permit requirement is completely unenforced for interstate transport. Import from overseas is likely enforced, but most folks don't even know about this domestic transport requirement.

You could ask if they are permitted, though, and some vendors advertise that they are.
 
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