The periodic shedding of the older cuticle layer or exoskeleton at the end of each molt as seen in insects (arthropods), or the splitting and casting off older skin as seen in some reptiles and amphibians. During this process, muscles contract to enlarge the body, until the exoskeleton breaks and the organism emerges out into the environment. This phenomenon is a prerequisite for normal growth and development, and metamorphosis of various insects, reptiles, amphibians, etc.
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RDF/XMLCreated 2006-01-19, last modified 2016-09-21