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Whimsical Dillidiidae Sculptures by Artist Sharon Engelstein on View in Houston's Hermann Park

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Dillidiidae in Houston's Hermann Park

Dillidiidae in Houston's Hermann Park

Whimsical Sculptures

Have you spotted these Dillidiidae in Hermann Park? There is also a Mamadillidiidae. There is undoubtedly a Papadillidiidae out there somewhere as well. Only the Mama and her four cute quadruplets are on view right now.

It is easy to identify Mamadillidiidae. She is much larger and taller than her children. Her cute little quadruplets are playing as children often do. They are somersaulting and tumbling about on the ground. Their location is near a playground in the park.

These whimsical bubbly forms were created by the artist Sharon Engelstein. Armadillidiidae, commonly known as pill bugs, roly-poly bugs, doodlebugs, and potato bugs, are the inspiration for these Dillidiidae, according to a sign posted on site. I never knew that those little hard-shelled bugs were called Armadillidiidae.

Armadillidiidae Information

Just like an armadillo that can curl up with its outer shell protecting it, these isopods with exoskeletons can do the same when threatened. They also do it to conserve moisture. The word meaning rolling up into a ball is conglobation.

A long time ago, species of this one-half to one-inch long armadillidiidae lived in water but eventually came to exist on land. Many species of various sizes still do exist in seawater and freshwater. Those who live on land still require moisture to live, so preserve it by living under decaying logs, rocks, leaf litter, etc. Those who live in drier climates come out at night when the evaporation of water by the sun is less of a problem.

This invertebrate animal sheds its rigid exoskeleton by molting as it grows. It gets around by crawling with its pairs of jointed limbs on its segmented body.

Generally, armadillidiidae eat decaying plant life, thereby enriching the soil. But they can also eat living plants and occasionally become a pest for farmers. Sometimes they will eat the decaying flesh of animals. There are thousands of species of these terrestrial bugs coming from the woodlice family.

A maternal armadillidiidae has a brood pouch that contains anywhere from 100 to 200 eggs, and she lays the eggs as many as three times a year. The usual lifespan is about two years. Predators for these roly-polies include birds, lizards, toads, spiders, and other small mammals.

Interestingly, some people eat them! Some people also keep them as pets.

Take some time to view the videos for some additional information about the Armadillidiidae.

Artist Sharon Engelstein

Sharon Engelstein first uses a computer to create her designs. From what I read, an engineer at a blimp company was able to transform her computerized images into sculptural art forms. Different mediums go into the making of these sculptures.

Her works have been in numerous solo exhibitions as well as group shows all across America. As far away as Malta, art lovers have seen her distinctive sculptures. She also creates works on paper.

Ms. Engelstein received her Bachelors of Fine Art in Tampa, Florida, and her MFA in California. Houston is now her home.

Sculpture occupies real space like we do... you walk around it and relate to it almost as another person or another object.

— Chuck Close

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Centennial Art Project

These sculptures, and others in the park, were installed to celebrate Hermann Park’s 100th anniversary in 2014. Numerous foundations helped to fund this Art in the Park Centennial Art Project. A concrete shell over these sculptures enables kids to climb upon them. Be sure and visit them if you get the chance!

Location of Hermann Park: 6001 Fannin Street, Houston, Texas 77030.

While the video below does not show these sculptures or the children’s adjacent playground, it does portray some of our magnificent 445 acres of Hermann Park. At the end of the video, the Japanese Garden is on view. Enjoy!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 31, 2020:

Hi Mary,

Yes, the sculptures are truly whimsical. I learned more about the roly-poly insects after the artist shared her inspiration for these pieces. It is always fun learning new things.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 31, 2020:

They are truly whimsical. I like the information you included on these creatures. I see them around in the basement. Now, I know what they are.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 27, 2020:

Hi Adrienne,

I agree that pronouncing the name of those bugs can be a tongue-twister. Ha! Sorry that they killed your tomato plant. Hopefully, that was a one-time occurrence. Stay safe, and have a happy new year!

Adrienne Farricelli on December 27, 2020:

I may never learn how to pronounce dillidiidae, but I am always appreciative of art in any form. On a side note, I am familiar with those bugs as they have destroyed my tomato plant once, but I didn't have the courage to kill them.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 27, 2020:

Hi Devika,

These sculptures are whimsical, and it was fun learning about what inspired them. Glad you enjoyed reading this.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 27, 2020:

Hi Peggy W this is a fascinating hub on this title. Unique and well thought of. The sculpures add more information and most interesting from your side of the world.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 21, 2020:

Hi Linda,

The sculptures are eye-catching and colorful. (Smile)

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 20, 2020:

The sculptures are strange but very interesting. I love their cheerful colors and strange shapes.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 20, 2020:

Hi Denise,

Had the artist not mentioned her inspiration, my mind would have thought of these sculptures resembling other things. The bulbous shapes inside of a lava lamp would be one, for example. Sending wishes of blessings your way!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on December 20, 2020:

That is amazing. I didn't know the name before, nor what they ate so it makes sense that you'd find them under rocks and in wet places. I'd love to see these sculptures. What fun!



Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 20, 2020:

Hi Ruby Jean,

I never knew the real name of these bugs either. These cute sculptures and the names that Sharon Engelstein gave to them sparked my research. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 20, 2020:

Hi Bill,

These whimsical sculptures are entertaining to see. Learning about what inspired them was also fun. I like learning new things. Merry Christmas to you and Bev!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 20, 2020:

The sculptures are cute and very colorful. The bugs are everywhere. We have them here, I didn't know their name. It's amazing that they have so many eggs, no wonder they are everywhere.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 20, 2020:

What a fun sight to see while visiting the park. I love your city's dedication to the Arts. Bravo!

Merry Christmas, Peggy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 19, 2020:

Hi MG Singh,

I am pleased that you liked learning about this species of animal. Our world is filled with fascinating creatures. The fact of their inspiring sculptures makes it a bit of fun as well.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 19, 2020:

Hi Rosina,

These sculptures do add a bit of whimsy to the park, and people seem to enjoy them. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 19, 2020:

Hi Cheryl,

You are not the only one that thinks that the word is a tongue-twister. Ha!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 19, 2020:

Hi Vanita,

So glad you enjoyed learning about these sculptures and the inspiration behind them. Merry Christmas to you too!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on December 19, 2020:

This is a very interesting article about the animal I never knew anything about. You have done a lot of research for this article

Rosina S Khan on December 19, 2020:

This was an fascinating account of Whimsical Dillidiidae sculptures in Herman Park. They sure arouse interest and add beauty to the park. I enjoyed reading about them. Thank you, Peggy, for the awesome share.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on December 19, 2020:

Thsi certainly is interesting. I had a hard time saying the word however.

Vanita Thakkar on December 19, 2020:

Very creative, beautiful and interesting. Truly Whimsy (Ha, Ha ....). The pictures are wonderful. Got to know many new things. Thanks.

Take care. The festivities this year have to be creative and different like these very different, beautiful sculptures. Merry Christmas !!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 19, 2020:

Hi Ann,

Yes, I think that we can use a bit of whimsy about now while the pandemic is still rearing its ugly head. I am glad you enjoyed seeing these sculptures and the inspiration behind them.

Ann Carr from SW England on December 19, 2020:

We have what I call wood lice, smaller than half an inch, though they have exactly the same make-up. Very useful creatures. I love that they're the subject of sculptures. An innovative idea and appealing to the eye.

It's so good to see these illustrations to brighten up the day as we sink into further lockdown here! Thanks for lightening the mood, Peggy.


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 19, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

These sculptures are so eye-catching and are certainly unique. What inspired this artist is also interesting to know. I learned much about these pill bugs. That is the term I personally used with them.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 19, 2020:

This park looks like a fun place to visit, Peggy. My grandchildren would love it for sure. The sculptures are truly unique.

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