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Did you know that spiders molt?

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posted on Aug, 14 2019 @ 02:05 AM
If you know me at all from my posts on ATS, then you know that spiders are my kryptonite. I can handle just about anything, but spiders are particularly nope-tastic.


But I did learn something cool about spiders recently. While working, I noticed several spider carcasses that seemed to be missing its abdomen. I essentially saw a shell with legs curled up. I pondered about this for a bit and then did some on-the-surface investigation.

I had no idea that spiders molt like crabs, or shed its skin (exoskeleton) like snakes! So odds are when you see a few 'dead' spiders lying around it's not an actual spider but it's discarded exoskeleton.

The exoskeleton is made of several layers of cuticle, a composite material containing various proteins and chitin, a long-chain polysaccharide (sugar). The chitin and protein molecules are arranged in long chains, in successive layers, like the grain in plywood.

This structure makes cuticle extremely strong, as well as highly effective at keeping the spider from drying out, but the material does have one serious drawback. While it's flexible enough for movement, it can't expand like human bones and tissue -- in other words, it can't grow. In order to increase its size, the spider has to form a new, larger cuticle exoskeleton and shed its old one (this is called molting).

A bit of synthesized research shows that every spider molts, and the process can take about 15 minutes to 15 hours! Fascinating Captain!

I still ain't touchin' one though.

edit on 14-8-2019 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 14 2019 @ 07:06 AM
Yep. Their skeleton is their outside shell more or less. So when they get too big for it, it has to go. They slough it off like a snake or lizard sheds its skin.

The shedding process for snakes is an interesting one too.

For example, when a snake "goes blue" meaning their eyes get all milky and their skin might look dull or cloudy, it's because there's an oil that secretes between their old skin and the new layer underneath. It's designed to separate the two so that when the snake breaks the top layer, it will cleanly peel off and the snake crawls right out.

When we went to clean his cage and I picked him up to put him in a holding bin this past week, our kingsnake was in blue. I'm surprised he didn't nail me. Snakes tend to be cranky and irritable because they can't see too well when they're in blue. But he didn't. He was overall fairly well behaved about being disturbed although I felt bad for him. I'd have left him alone if I'd known he was in the process.

posted on Aug, 14 2019 @ 07:08 AM
Have a friend who used to have a pet cinnamon tarantula
Not only that , but they can shoot "spikes" (actually hair) by rubbing their legs on their bodies .
The amount of these spikes increases with each molt.
(so they say)

posted on Aug, 14 2019 @ 07:14 AM
My folks live in an old farmhouse. Go up to the third floor which is basically just used for storage, and you can find the windowsills littered with old spider casings (old molts) of various types of spiders.

posted on Aug, 14 2019 @ 12:57 PM
Spiders are amazing creatures! They dont scare me like snakes did, but i learned as much as i could about them and now i respect them

posted on Aug, 14 2019 @ 05:12 PM
Every time they molt, they get bigger..... Ha Ha Haaa

posted on Aug, 15 2019 @ 11:09 AM
a reply to: NarcolepticBuddha

Yup we have two tarantulas, Miles and Tank! One is a curly hair and the other is a pink toe!

They both shed and when they do they’re nice and fluffy!

I use to hate spiders. I would freak out over one. Well my son who is now 6 loves them and 2 1/2 years ago he got really upset and cried when I killed a wolf spider that was tormenting me. He said I killed his friend. He always liked critters most adults don’t lol Well I caught one of the spiders at home and we kept Wolfy for 5 months or so until we got Miles the Pink Toe and then Tank! So now I don’t mind them as I’ve learned to respect them and see they’re not all that creepy! I like watching them make their webs or clean, even drink water! We also have an Asian forest scorpion but she is always in her cave hiding lol

I would share some of our tarantula’s molts but Facebook uploaded doesn’t like iPhone photos for some reason.

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