In biology, moulting (or molting, ["Molting" vs. "moulting" -- see spelling differences.] also known as shedding or for some species, ecdysis) signifies the manner in which an animal routinely casts off a part of its body (often but not always an outer layer or covering), either at specific times of year, or at specific points in its life-cycle.

Moulting can involve the epidermis (skin), pelage (hair, fur, wool), or other external layer. In some species, other body parts may be shed, for example, wings in some insects. Examples include old feathers in birds, old hairs in mammals (especially dogs and other canidae), old skin in reptiles, and the entire exoskeleton in arthropods.


"See Go Pets for Ref" [ Go Pets America: Dogs that do not shed - Retrieved September 7, 2008] ]


The most familiar example of moulting in reptiles is when snakes "shed their skin". This is usually achieved by the snake rubbing its head against a hard object, such as a rock (or between two rocks) or piece of wood, causing the already stretched skin to split. At this point, the snake continues to rub its skin on objects, causing the end nearest the head to peel back on itself, until the snake is able to crawl out of its skin, effectively turning the moulted skin inside-out. This is similar to how you might remove a sock from your foot by grabbing the open end and pulling it over itself. The snake's skin is often left in one piece after the moulting process. Conversely, lizards' skins fall off in pieces.


In arthropods, such as insects, arachnids and crustaceans, moulting is the shedding of the exoskeleton (which is often called its shell), typically to let the organism grow. This process is called ecdysis. Ecdysis is necessary because the exoskeleton is rigid and cannot grow like skin. The new exoskeleton is initially soft but hardens after the moulting of the old exoskeleton. The old exoskeleton is referred to as an "exuvium" (or exuvia).


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?
, , , , , (feathers, hair, etc.),

Look at other dictionaries:

  • moult — moult …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • moult — [ mult ] adv. • mult Xe; lat. multum « beaucoup », cf. multitude ♦ Vx ou iron. Beaucoup, très. Raconter une histoire avec moult détails. ● moult adjectif invariable (latin multum) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • moult — Moult, C est beaucoup. Il vient de Multum Latin. Il est moult joyeux, Valde multumque laetus. L Italien dit de mesmes Molto, et l Espagnol Mucho, et Muy. Ce vocable estoit commun et fort usité envers les anciens, ce qu il n est pas à present, et… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Moult — País …   Wikipedia Español

  • moult — BrE molt AmE [məult US moult] v when a bird or animal moults, it loses feathers or hair so that new ones can grow >moult[i] n [U and C] …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Moult — (m[=o]lt), v. & n. See {Molt}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • moult — [ moult ] the British spelling of molt …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • moult´er — moult «mohlt», intransitive verb, transitive verb, noun. Especially British. molt. –moult´er, noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • moult — see MOLT (Cf. molt) …   Etymology dictionary

  • moult — is the spelling in BrE for the verb meaning ‘to shed feathers or hair etc.’ and for the corresponding noun. In AmE the spelling is molt …   Modern English usage

  • moult — MOULT. adv. Vieux mot qui n a plus d usage que dans le burlesque, & qui signifie Beaucoup, en grande quantité …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”