Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Exoskeleton

I found the exoskeleton of a scorpion in part of geocache today!

scorpion shell

From Wikipedia:

Young scorpions generally resemble their parents. Growth is accomplished by periodic shedding of the exoskeleton (ecdysis). A scorpion's developmental progress is measured in instars (how many moults it has undergone). Scorpions typically require between five and seven moults to reach maturity. Moulting is effected by means of a split in the old exoskeleton which takes place just below the edge of the carapace (at the front of the prosoma). The scorpion then emerges from this split; the pedipalps and legs are first removed from the old exoskeleton, followed eventually by the metasoma. When it emerges, the scorpion’s new exoskeleton is soft, making the scorpion highly vulnerable to attack. The scorpion must constantly stretch while the new exoskeleton hardens to ensure that it can move when the hardening is complete. The process of hardening is called sclerotization. The new exoskeleton does not fluoresce; as sclerotization occurs, the fluorescence gradually returns.

I didn't know scorpions molted. I just never thought about it. Pretty cool though! It reminded me of all the cicada shells we used to collect as kids. I grew up in Cincinnati - where we get the 17 year cicada's (I've seen/heard them twice).

What's the most interesting thing you've found in a geocache?


What is Geocaching? Answer here.
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16 comments:

  1. love it. It's rare i can say.
    geocaching is totally thrilling.

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  2. I remember collecting those cicadas and taking them to school for show and tell. Now they just creep me out.

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  3. wow that IS so cooooooooooool

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  4. Gross! But beautiful, at the same time.

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  5. that is amazing that it is so complete!
    do you have a great cache planned for find number 300?

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  6. Woah! What a great idea geocaching is! I want to play!

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  7. I won't dare believe you actually TOUCHED this!

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  8. I learn something new every time you post! Just learned what geocaching is & I looked up some spots in my area. Now I have to go check them out!

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  9. WOW! That's amazing... I never really thought about them molting either, but it's really neat. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. I was coming here to tell you maybe I could start thinking about doing this geocaching thing. Skeletons, though???? Hmm.. lol!

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  11. I haven't ever found a geocache, but I do remember pulling the cicada shells off the trees. It was like Christmas when we found one because you had to be looking and there weren't many of them.

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  12. Neat to find one so intact. I've only seen pieces of them before. I just assumed that they shed their exoskeletons in small parts and pieces!

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  13. It's very bad what in our country we not have this Geocaching!!! :(
    It's very interesting and funny!!!

    I have one Keychain with real Scorpions! :)

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  14. This is pretty snazzy. I never even knew they shed let alone looked at it

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  15. That is awesome. Haven't seen anything quite so cool yet. A live caterpillar near a cache is the best we've got so far.

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