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Tarantula Molts! November 20, 2008

Posted by bsciencecenter in Uncategorized.
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tarantula

I had the pleasure of observing and photographing the Science Center’s Chilean Rose-hair Tarantula during its molt.

Click below to view pictures of “Shadow” the Tarantula as she molts.

 tarantula-molting

 Tarantulas are invertebrate animals that need to shed their complete exoskeleton in order to grow.  Molting may occur as often as once a month in young “spiderlings”, or only once every one to two years in adults. As a molt approaches, the tarantula may refuse food, sometimes for several weeks or even months. Further evidence of an upcoming molt is reduced activity, increased use of silk as it creates a webby “molting mat” and dull coloration.

When a tarantula molts it will turn onto its “back.”  Pressure changes within the molting tarantula will cause its old exoskeleton to separate at the carapace and abdomen. It will pull its legs out of its old skin much like you pull your fingers out of a glove. The cast exoskeleton looks much like a hollowed-out complete tarantula. Once the process is completed the pale-colored tarantula will rest and then spend the course of the next week growing, as its new exoskeleton hardens.  This is the time when the tarantula is its most vulnerable. Tarantulas may fully harden in 3-4 days or up to two weeks.

To learn more about tarantulas, check out links below:

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bugs/tarantula.html

 

 http://www.tarantulas.com/

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Comments»

1. MomOfJTE - November 22, 2008

That was AWESOME to see!!! Thanks for sharing this!


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