Ecdysis – Crabs Do It, Insects Do It, What Is It?

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by Mark W. LaSalle, Ph.D., Our Mississippi Home

I recently had a revelation about something that I assumed everyone knew. I posted a photo of the discarded skin (the exoskeleton) of an insect (shared by a great nephew) and was surprised that more than one person responded that they did not know that insects shed their skins. What? They must have been asleep in Entomology Class, right? Well, shame on me for assuming, and no fault of my friends. This one is on me! I dropped the ball somehow. So here goes a bit of penance (I am a good Catholic after all) for my sins of assumption and failing to teach one of the important facts about all arthropods – that they must shed an old skin to grow – through the process of ecdysis.

Arthropods make up one of the largest groups of organisms in the animal kingdom. They are defined by their…

This article first appeared on Our Mississippi Home.

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