Moulting in the Insect Kingdom

3 June 2011
Bugs moult, usually to grow. Their exoskeletons are rigid and usually do not grow or stretch with their bodies as they themselves grow, unlike the skin of mammals. After moulting, the bug’s fresh exoskeleton is typically soft but will harden in time.

Some bugs may lose some legs in the world of survival. Moulting also allows them to regenerate their legs, especially in the juvenile stages of their life. Some animals do eat their old exoskeleton for calcium, but I’ve not seen any bugs that do that. 😛

Molting vs Moulting
Molting in the UK.
Moulting in the USA.
No biggie. 🙂

Some shots of the moulting bugs and moulted exo-skeletons to share, as well as some miscellaneous pictures from the previous ogre hunts.

Katydid, freshly moulted (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_8781#1 Katydid freshly emerged from it’s moult. It spreads its wings to dry, before taking off. Bugs are usually sitting ducks for predators during the moulting process, so they should find some inconspicuous spot to do it. 🙂

Cricket, freshly moulted (Gryllidae) - DSC_8803#2 Beautiful fella was out by the time I got to it. But the moult is just a short distance away!

Cockroach (Blattodea) - DSC_1118#3 Is this a cockroach? White and fresh from moult!

Katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_0550#4 Here’s another katydid in the midst of squeezing itself out of the moult. Polishing its feelers while doing it. lol

Cicada moult (Cicadidae) - DSC_7888#5 Cicada moult under the morning sun

Spider Moult - DSC_1654#6 Discarded moult of a huntsman spider (I think)

Praying Mantis Moult - DSC_9524#7 Moult of a Praying Mantis

Now for the other subjects from my past 2 ogre hunting trips.

Narrow-mouthed Frog (Microhylidae) - DSC_8613#11 Little frog (or toad) spotted by James

Nursery Web Spider (Polyboea vulpina) - DSC_8621#12 Looked like a wolf spider initially, but the eyes… looked very different! Not sure of exact ID yet!

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8624#13 Stick insect. Found quite a few of them. When touched, they turn rigid into a stick, even if you pick them up.

Assassin Bug (Reduviidae) - DSC_8628#14 Looks like an assassin bug

Soldier Beetle (Ichthyurus sp.) - DSC_8654#15 Soldier Beetle (Ichthyurus sp.)

Soldier Beetle (Ichthyurus sp.) - DSC_8661#16 Preflight shot… to a leaf just beside. 🙂

Mantis (Mantodea) - DSC_8665#17 Praying Mantis with backlight

Mantis (Mantodea) - DSC_8678#18 Going in closer…

Mantis (Mantodea) - DSC_8684#19 Oops! Found me!!

The complete album can be viewed here and here.



Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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