<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Most animals have an exoskeleton, including insects, spiders, scorpions, horseshoe crabs, centipedes, and crustaceans. Scientists estimate that, of insects alone, there are over 30 million species on our planet. The exoskeleton is a hard covering or shell that provides benefits to the animal, such as protection against damage from predators and from water loss (for land animals); it also provides for the attachments of muscles.

As the tough and resistant outer cover of an arthropod, the exoskeleton may be constructed of a tough polymer such as chitin and is often biomineralized with materials such as calcium carbonate. This is fused to the animal’s epidermis. Ingrowths of the exoskeleton, called apodemes , function as attachment sites for muscles, similar to tendons in more advanced animals ( [link] ). In order to grow, the animal must first synthesize a new exoskeleton underneath the old one and then shed or molt the original covering. This limits the animal’s ability to grow continually, and may limit the individual’s ability to mature if molting does not occur at the proper time. The thickness of the exoskeleton must be increased significantly to accommodate any increase in weight. It is estimated that a doubling of body size increases body weight by a factor of eight. The increasing thickness of the chitin necessary to support this weight limits most animals with an exoskeleton to a relatively small size. The same principles apply to endoskeletons, but they are more efficient because muscles are attached on the outside, making it easier to compensate for increased mass.

Illustration shows a crab claw with a small, upper portion that pivots relative to a large, lower portion. The apodemes are located on the large portion, above and below the pivot point.
Apodemes are ingrowths on arthropod exoskeletons to which muscles attach. The apodemes on this crab leg are located above and below the fulcrum of the claw. Contraction of muscles attached to the apodemes pulls the claw closed.

An animal with an endoskeleton has its size determined by the amount of skeletal system it needs in order to support the other tissues and the amount of muscle it needs for movement. As the body size increases, both bone and muscle mass increase. The speed achievable by the animal is a balance between its overall size and the bone and muscle that provide support and movement.

Limiting effects of diffusion on size and development

The exchange of nutrients and wastes between a cell and its watery environment occurs through the process of diffusion. All living cells are bathed in liquid, whether they are in a single-celled organism or a multicellular one. Diffusion is effective over a specific distance and limits the size that an individual cell can attain. If a cell is a single-celled microorganism, such as an amoeba, it can satisfy all of its nutrient and waste needs through diffusion. If the cell is too large, then diffusion is ineffective and the center of the cell does not receive adequate nutrients nor is it able to effectively dispel its waste.

An important concept in understanding how efficient diffusion is as a means of transport is the surface to volume ratio. Recall that any three-dimensional object has a surface area and volume; the ratio of these two quantities is the surface-to-volume ratio. Consider a cell shaped like a perfect sphere: it has a surface area of 4πr 2 , and a volume of (4/3)πr 3 . The surface-to-volume ratio of a sphere is 3/r; as the cell gets bigger, its surface to volume ratio decreases, making diffusion less efficient. The larger the size of the sphere, or animal, the less surface area for diffusion it possesses.

Questions & Answers

can i get a broader difference between inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning
Daniel Reply
what are the types of tissues and there functions
what is signal cascade?
nur Reply
it is the process by which plants produce their fo
Getabalew Reply
what are the substrates of this process
definition of photosynthesis
Fiko Reply
it is simply the process by which plants get there food from the sun through the use of chlorophyll
what are the advantages and disadvantages of external and internal fertilization
Mohd Reply
which type of blood group can be tranfer easily after Accidents
Durgesh Reply
O positive cause it is a general donor
It can give to other blood group except O negative that can only get from O negative
which is the polygonum type of embryo sac in angiosperms
Madhura Reply
Describe how hormones regulate blood pressure, blood volume, and kidney function
junius Reply
2 Positive water potential is placed on the left side of the tube by increasing Ψp such that the water level rises on the right side. Could you equalize the water level on each side of the tube by adding solute, and if so, how?
Sarah Reply
where are the enzymes required for electron transport system located
plant and animal cell
Oyedeji Reply
what plant and animal cell
plant cell has a definite shape whilst the animal cell has indefinite shape
e carriers are present in criste of mitochondria which boosts the process
what does cell mean?
what are the type of cell
abiola Reply
Poukaryotic cell and euakaryotic cell
prokaryotes don't have well delet nucleus while Euler have well developed nucleus
Which of the following is considered a keystone species? Deer, Beaver, Elk or Wolves
Nicole Reply
Origin and Diversity of higher plants
Gideon Reply
explain the reason why the impudent and excessive use of antibiotics could be potentially harmful to the user.
Alfred Reply
diseases gain antibiotic resistance from the antibiotic if often used.
what is mean by serum
vasant Reply

Get the best Biology course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Biology' conversation and receive update notifications?