The effect of differences in food composition on growth, body composition and cold tolerance of the isopods Porcellio scaber (Latreille) and Oniscus asellus (L.) has been studied. The effect on reproduction of P. scaber was included. Total lipid and protein content remained the same in O. asellus, given food with a nitrogen content of 2.4, 2.5, 2.8 or 3.1% for 8 weeks. Those fed on 3.1% N gained significantly more weight than those fed on 2.4, 2.5 or 2.8% N. Cold tolerance after a period of low temperature acclimation could not be tested, due to high mortality at the subzero treatment. Haemolymph osmolality increased after the winter acclimation for all food treatments. Juvenile P. scaber, given food of 1.8, 2.5 or 3.1% N, showed no difference in growth over 18 weeks, nor in body composition over 14 weeks. Diet did not influence cold tolerance ability and haemolymph osmolality remained the same with changing cold tolerance of the animals. Gravid females of P. scaber were separated to examine the effect of diet on reproduction. Diet did not influence the number of juveniles, nor their weight. In all food treatments, a significant correlation was found between the weight of the female and the number and weight of her offspring.