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 An interesting note on post-molt exoskeleton hardening

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Mr. Mordax
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PostSubject: An interesting note on post-molt exoskeleton hardening   3/6/2008, 2:35 am

Several weeks ago, I had a B. jacksoni die shortly after molting. After about 24 hours, the corpse was still post-molt soft. At this point I put it in the freezer to later preserve with my other deceased specimens. Today, I took my scorpions out of the freezer to preserve by drying in acetone. The post-molt-death specimen was still soft after thawing, however.

This suggests to me that the mechanics behind post-molt scleritolization (did I spell that right?) are metabolic and not chemical. (Meaning the scorpion has to be alive for its exoskeleton to harden following a molt.) Does anyone else have experience and / or thoughts in this area?

(As a student in bioengineering, taking biochemistry labs, this is of great interest to me.)

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PostSubject: Re: An interesting note on post-molt exoskeleton hardening   3/6/2008, 6:32 pm

Maybe the chemicals are brought by metabolic activities. I have a post molt death too. Jacksonii actually so I'll check up on it today.
-Eddy
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PostSubject: Re: An interesting note on post-molt exoskeleton hardening   3/6/2008, 7:45 pm

Interesting...so its not a simple matter of hardening by evaporation/reaction to air. I've yet to read any book on arachnids - is there a book that covers the science of exoskeletal formation?

-Chris
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PostSubject: Re: An interesting note on post-molt exoskeleton hardening   3/6/2008, 10:10 pm

Yeah, I always thought it was some chemical reaction brought about by exposure to air . . . but that might suggest that if you soaked an exoskeleton in water it would soften (obviously not true for marine arthropods).

I have a book with some stuff on ecdysis -- but I think it only covers up to the actual molt (hormones and secretions and whatnot that prepare the new exoskeleton). I can flip through it a little later and see if it has anything on post-molt hardening.

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