Spiders have a protective exoskeleton that they have to shed periodically throughout their lives as they grow. Another way of putting it is that they shed their skin as they grow larger. This process is generally called moulting, although it has a more scientific term, ecdysis.  The exoskeleton underneath is soft and so once the spider is free of its old skin, it has to wait for the newly exposed one to harden.

I have never actually witnessed this process of a spider shedding an exoskeleton, but found evidence of it outside my kitchen door yesterday morning. The images are not particularly good – the wind was tossing this remnant about – yet I find it interesting to see how the spider used a length of thread to anchor itself to the metal bar above it before starting the process of emerging from its ‘skin’.

spider exoskeleton

See the thread attaching the exoskeleton to the metal bar and note the hairs on the legs.


Escape Hatch

Escape Hatch


2 thoughts on “ECDYSIS

  1. Dear Anne, Thanks to you making it to my Holistic Garden blog and leaving a comment I made my way to yours. I am so impressed by the quality of your posts and pictures and am inspired also by the quantity of your posts! I love to write and a couple days ago made a “resolution” that I was going to try to make a habit of writing something every day… I know that “practice makes perfect”! At least that was my experience as an art student… the more I drew the better I got at it. But I have these resistances about “posting” my writings… that they have to be especially worthy in some really unspecified way… Coming to your site was just what I needed! You write of small everyday experiences and events in ways that make them a wonderful relaxing read.. like sharing tea and conversation with a friend. Thank you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.