Skin Shedders: A Gallery of Creatures That Molt

Molting Daphnia Magna

Daphnia magna water flea molts.

(Image credit: David Duneau)

A water flea (Daphnia magna) undergoes molting. Like all crustaceans, this tiny creature must molt to grow.

Water Flea

A water flea on a blue background.

(Image credit: David Duneau)

A water flea, part of the order Cladocera, is a small crustacean only a few millimeters long.

C. elegans

C. elegans, a nematode.

(Image credit: Hinrich Schulenburg, University of Kiel, Germany)

Caenorhabditis elegans, a nematode worm and one of the most-studied organisms in the lab. C. elegans moves through four larval stages, molting after each one.

Wall Lizard

The common wall lizard on a tree trunk.

(Image credit: David Duneau)

Like other lizards, the common wall lizard sheds its skin when it outgrows it.

Panther Chameleon

A panther chameleon on a branch.

(Image credit: David Duneau)

As this panther chameleon grows, it will slough off its old skin to reveal new skin beneath.

Mexican Red-Kneed Tarantula

A mexican red-kneed tarantula on the ground.

(Image credit: David Duneau)

Tarantulas (and other spiders) must molt as they outgrow their exoskeletons. Freshly molted spiders are very soft and vulnerable until their new exoskeletons harden.

Mangrove Tree Crab

A person holds a mangrove tree crab.

(Image credit: Nicholas Ledesma)

Crustaceans like this mangrove tree crab also molt to grow.

Common Garter Snake

A common garter snake in the leaves.

(Image credit: David Duneau)

It's no secret that snakes shed their skin. Here, a common garter snake mugs for the camera.

Carolina Anole

The carolina anole, a lizard.

(Image credit: David Duneau)

Another lizard molter, the Carolina Anole.

Amazon Milk Frogs

Two amazon milk frogs on a leaf.

(Image credit: David Duneau)

Amphibians, including these Amazon Milk Frogs, molt periodically. Many frog species eat the shed skin.

Agile Frog

An agile frog on a leaf.

(Image credit: David Duneau)

An agile frog perches on a leaf. Frogs can molt as often as every few days.

Stephanie Pappas
Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.