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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Ecdysis \Ec"dy*sis\, n.; pl. Ecdyses. [NL., fr. Gr. 'e`kdysis a getting out, fr. 'ekdy`ein, to put off; 'ek out + dy`ein to enter.] (Biol.) The act of shedding, or casting off, an outer cuticular layer, as in the case of serpents, lobsters, etc.; a coming out; as, the ecdysis of the pupa from its shell; exuviation.


n. 1 The shedding of an outer layer of skin in snakes and certain other animals; moulting 2 The shedding of an exoskeleton, as in insects and crustaceans.

  1. n. periodic shedding of the cuticle in arthropods or the outer skin in reptiles [syn: molt, molting, moult, moulting]

  2. [also: ecdyses (pl)]


Ecdysis is the moulting of the cuticle in many invertebrates. This process of moulting is the defining feature of the clade Ecdysozoa, comprising the arthropods, nematodes, velvet worms, horsehair worms, tardigrades, and Cephalorhyncha. Since the cuticle of these animals typically forms a largely inelastic exoskeleton, it is shed during growth and a new, larger covering is formed. The remnants of the old, empty exoskeleton are called exuviae.

After moulting, an arthropod is described as teneral, a callow; it is "fresh", pale and soft-bodied. Within one or two hours, the cuticle hardens and darkens following a tanning process analogous to the production of leather. During this short phase the animal expands, since growth is otherwise constrained by the rigidity of the exoskeleton. Growth of the limbs and other parts normally covered by hard exoskeleton is achieved by transfer of body fluids from soft parts before the new skin hardens. A spider with a small abdomen may be undernourished but more probably has recently undergone ecdysis. Some arthropods, especially large insects with tracheal respiration, expand their new exoskeleton by swallowing or otherwise taking in air. The maturation of the structure and colouration of the new exoskeleton might take days or weeks in a long-lived insect; this can make it difficult to identify an individual if it has recently undergone ecdysis.

Ecdysis allows damaged tissue and missing limbs to be regenerated or substantially re-formed. Complete regeneration may require a series of moults, the stump becoming a little larger with each moult until it is a normal, or near normal, size.

Ecdysis (album)

Ecdysis is Miho Hatori's first solo album after a series of contributions to diverse bands, including Cibo Matto, Gorillaz, the Beastie Boys, and Smokey & Miho. It was released on October 21, 2005 in Japan under the Speedstar International label. The album was distributed in the United States one year later under the Rykodisc label.

Ecdysis (disambiguation)

Ecdysis is the moulting of the exoskeleton in arthropods and other animals.

Ecdysis may also refer to:

  • Ecdysis, an album by Miho Hatori

Note: Ecdysiast is a euphemism for a striptease artist.

Usage examples of "ecdysis".

Her lips fell away from her teeth in a rictus that was more smile than grin and then a kind of ecdysis began and her flesh ceased to shimmer and turned a dull gray.