Spider skeleton

It must be convenient to be a spider at Halloween. To decorate, you just rummage through your closet and pull out an old molt — instant skeleton!

The good news, too, is that my latest generation of spiders are growing up, and starting to molt. Here’s a shed spider cuticle I found today.

They shed by popping open the top of their head, which you can see at the top left, and then back out, pulling their legs up out of the old limbs. I keep hoping to catch them in the act, but I think they do it in the middle of the night, to minimize the danger while defenseless.

I put a picture of her post-molt down below.

Doesn’t she look good? All fresh and beautiful as she takes apart that fly. Now I want to go through ecdysis.


  1. nomdeplume says

    I’ve only seen the process once, I think where an Orb spider had got the last bit of the shed skin stuck and was still trying to release it in the early morning. The skin disappeared later, which makes me reflect that you don’t see shed skins of most spiders in their webs. Are they dropped to the ground? Eaten? But conversely the “Daddy Long Legs” (Pholcus) leaves exskeletons on webs all over my house.

  2. InitHello says

    I would speculate that like my shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) they eat it to recover minerals used to grow the new skeleton.