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Moulting question

Rookie

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
283
Alright...here it is. Does a T 'decide' when it will moult. I know that after a certain period of time, a T is due up for a moult, and that's that. This i understand. But, since I know that a moult is a stressful/difficult time for a T, I thought it would kinda be like throwing up for us. We don't really like it, and we don't want to do it, but our body knows best, and we can't stop it. if we're throwing up, that's it; there's no prolonging things, or delaying thigs. Is this what a moult is like? Does the T sit there, and say 'here it comes' and then it moults because it has no other choice? Or rather, does it prepare for a moult, and then start to do so when the situation is right? I feel this is a very stupid question, but let's face facts: I don't know the answer. Please help me out, as you folks have time and time again.
Paul

p.s. i'm really long-winded today; my posts are way longer than they have to be.
 

Henry Kane

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
1,885
For a T to decide to molt would be like saying "I've decided to grow a bit today.". It's relative to how much they eat of course. The more they eat, the more they grow until eventually, their old exo can no longer contain them.
Now in the case of an injured T, it's said that they can force a molt. Like to repair a lost limb, broken fangs, etc. I can't say for sure if it's instinctual or decided but with the capacity (or lack of) of forethough that they possess, I'd guess it's purely instinct.

Atrax
 

Vayu Son

Avatar of Anansi
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
809
><

T's revolve around molting, and the actual molt process is only the climax of that cycle.

"During most of the year, a tarantula is in intermolt, a suspended, passive phase...however, at characteristic times of the year...the production of a sequence of specific hormones triggers the resumption of the molting cycle(pre-molt)...

At about the same time, a liquid is secreted between the new and old exoskeletons, and enzymes digest away one layer of the exoskeleton, the endocuticle. This process is called apolypsis...

The end of premolt and the beggining of molt is signaled when the tarantula rolls over to lie upside down...

During molt, with the tarantula upside down, the carapace loosens around its front and sides and is forced slowly out of the way. The tarantula, in its new, still pliable(receptive to change) exoskeleton, miraculously works its way out of the opening with a nearly imperceptible pumping action. Molt may take as little as 20 minutes, or as long as 2 to 3 days...

In the next phase, postmolt, the new exoskeleton swells, possibly as a result of swallowed air, possibly because hemolymph(tarantula equivalent to blood) is pumped forward under pressure from the opisthoma to the prosoma...the new exoskeleton, which was slightly wrinkled inside the old one, expands to a size somewhat larger than the old one as it stretches and the wrinkles smooth out...

The next several days the exoskeleton hardens as the chitin and sclerotin experience a sort of tanning process whereby the individual molecules become cross-linked..."

-the tarantula keepers guide


therein is the molting process. During which the tarantula is completely helpless, and its joints are all messy and unconnected. Id rather think, molting being a biological fact, that it wouldnt be painful, but more akin to our bioligical acts of defecation, menstruation, shedding skin, etc. Although during molt the nerve endings are very subsceptible, it would be easy to harm it.


-V
 

MrT

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 13, 2002
Messages
2,174
Well said V,
The T Keepers Guide is packed full of info. I read from it every night before I good to sleep. Its a "must have", if your into keeping T's ;) ;) :D

Ernie
 

Botar

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
1,442
You might want to try Amazon.com. I think I got mine at a local petstore. It is a great reference, but I feel I've learned more from this board than I did from all three of the books I've read. The books are more general (generally speaking;) ) but the advice from this board is more specific to experience with particular species.

Botar
 

Henry Kane

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
1,885
Yeah, I got mine locally too. I've read it twice already and still refer to it fairly often. Sam Marshall's is great too. Nowhere near as in depth as the T.K.G., but it covers the basics nicely.
I'm definitely looking foreward to meeting the Schultzs at the next ATS conference.



Vayu Son, did you derive from that info that the molt process is not decided, but instictive (or probably better phrased as a natural cycle) as well? That seems to be pretty much the case, but everyone gets something different from it. Just curious. Also, what's your take on a forced molt? Decided behavior, or instinctive acceleration of the natural cycle?

Atrax
 
Last edited:

Vayu Son

Avatar of Anansi
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
809
><

My take is that it is instinctive, I dont feel that tarantulas have any sort of advanced learning process or organized thought patterns that would give them the capability to 'decide'. But rather it is a natural process triggered by environmental conditions. I see the accelerated/forced molts just as I do their ability to autotomize a wounded leg, A biological capability that is triggered by some variable.

-V
 
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