Q:

What is an exoskeleton?

A:

Quick Answer

Exoskeletons are hard, external structures that support and protect an animal's body. Exoskeletons provide protection from predators but limit the growth of the animal. Many animals enlarge or shed their exoskeletons as they grow.

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What is an exoskeleton?
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Full Answer

Insects are an example of animals that have an exoskeleton. They do not have internal bones, and their muscles are attached to the exoskeleton. When a muscle contracts, it pulls on the exoskeleton and causes the insect to move. Most insects lose their exoskeleton in a phase called molting. During this phase, insects are very vulnerable to predators because the new exoskeletons have not hardened enough to protect them.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are three functions of an arthropod exoskeleton?

    A:

    Three functions of an arthropod's exoskeleton are protection, support and muscle attachment. The exoskeleton starts as procuticle, made up of layers that include chitin microfibers in a protein matrix. After each molt, parts of the procuticle harden, forming the familiar exoskeleton of a beetle, centipede or lobster.

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  • Q:

    What is an external skeleton?

    A:

    An external skeleton, commonly referred to as an exoskeleton, is an external covering that supports and protects the body of an animal. Many animals, including crabs, cockroaches, snails, clams and tortoises, have exoskeletons.

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  • Q:

    How do ticks breathe?

    A:

    Like many arthropods, ticks breathe air through tiny openings along their body called "spiracles." Ticks are famous for surviving periods underwater because they have a reduced need for oxygen compared to other creatures. A tick breathes between one and 15 times an hour.

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  • Q:

    How do dinoflagellates move?

    A:

    Dinoflagellates move in a forward spiraling motion powered by the coordinated beating of two different flagella that project from the organism's body. One flagellum protrudes straight out from the back end and the other circles around the middle of the cell.

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