Ecdysis of a cicada

Ecdysis of a cicada

An animation of a cicada undergoing ecdysis, the molting of the exoskeleton in arthropods and related groups. Since the cuticula of these animals is inelastic, it is shed during growth and a new, larger covering is formed. The old, empty exoskeleton is called an exuvia. Within one or two hours, the cuticle hardens and darkens, during which time the animal grows, since growth is otherwise constrained by the rigidity of the exoskeleton. Each frame of this image was taken at one-minute intervals, with a 30-minute gap in middle while the cicada rested. The entire process took about 2 hours to complete.
Image credit: T. Nathan Mundhenk/Carol Spears

Ecdysis of a cicada
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