this is a gif of an insect molting
what is molting? molting is when an animal grows to big for its own skin/shell/exoskeleton and therefore needs to hatch out of it in order to continue to grow. what is an exoskeleton? an exoskeleton is literally “an external skeleton”. the exoskeleton is there to protect the animal; it’s rock-hard and safe, it makes it more difficult to be eaten. the part of the animal inside the exoskeleton is soft and vulnerable. so naturally, when its time for molting and the animal is out of its old exoskeleton it’s all soft and unprotected. the world becomes much more dangerous.
there are many videos on youtube of different animals molting and sometimes they get eaten right away! that must be very scary, but at the same time, the molting is essential to the growth. scary but necessary! we can think of many times in our lives where we needed to molt, when it was scary but we crawled out of out protective shells in order to be able to grow. we think about the image of a freshly molted crayfish, all squishy, tiny and scared, hiding behind a rock and waiting for a new shell to harden on it’s skin. a new exoskeleton that is better fitted for the bigger animal it is now.
//sepideh n cajsa
(photo by T. Nathan Mundhenk)