Arachnid molting

d.k. tetreault denist at
Fri Sep 30 06:46:58 EST 1994

	Has anyone out there encountered molting in mature male arachnids? 
In particular mygalomorph spiders? It's well documented that females
continue to molt through life. I've got a female Euthlus smithi (Mexican
Red-legged tarantula) that is at least 11 years old (owned it for 9 years)
and it continues to molt every one and half years or so. However after
over 15 years of interest in arthropods (fossil arthropods - academic,
living arthropods - hobby) I've never encountered molting in adult males
(certainly not in Aranae, anyways). 
 	Yet...... a male Paraphysa manicata (Chilean Copper tarantula) did  
just that. It molted into adulthood about 10 months before the event in
question, was a virgin (though not through lack of trying!), and suffered
serious damage to it's cephalothorax about 8 months before (two large
fang-punctures inflicted during a nightmare date with a female tarantula
that wasn't in the mood). It died during an attempted molt - possibly due
to the carapace damage, preventing separation of the old cuticle from the
new. The abdomenal region underwent normal ecdysis with fully developed
new cuticle and setae. The damage may have also triggered the molting
behavior in the first place. Pre-molting behavior was normal for the
species (web-platform well made, followed by inversion). 

	Has any arthropod workers out there encountered any other similar 

   Denis Tetreault
   Dept of Earth Sciences
   University of Western Ontario
   London, Ontario, Canada
   denist at

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