Our pet praying mantises (Tenodera sinensis), being arthropods with a hard exoskeleton, have to shed their skin periodically to be able to grow larger. In the past, we’ve encountered difficulties and even “molting disasters” with Mantis religiosa, so we know this is a delicate, difficult procedure. The mantis nymph must hang upside down and use gravity to help it extract itself from its too-tight armored skeleton. This is like a person drawing their fingers carefully out of a very tight glove. The mantis must pull out even its long, thin antennae, and each individual leg. At last, as seen in these videos, it wriggles free and can expand its body in the short time before its soft skin hardens into a new, larger exoskeleton.

 

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