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Invertebrates
Arthropods



Arthropods
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.04

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    arthro, many-segmented, well-protected, phylum, characteristic, internal, chitin, directly, exoskeletons, exoskeleton, metamorphosis, crawdads, roly-polys, external, foul-smelling, direct
     content words:    In Greek


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Arthropods
By Cindy Grigg
  

1     Insects, spiders, crabs, and scorpions belong to the phylum Arthropoda. Arthropods are invertebrate animals without a backbone. They have segmented bodies and an exoskeleton, a skeleton outside of their bodies. The name comes from another feature they share - jointed appendages, such as wings, legs, and mouthparts. In Greek, arthro means "joint," and pod means "foot" or "leg."
 
2     All arthropods have an external skeleton - an exoskeleton. Some exoskeletons are hard, like that of a lobster. It is made out of chitin. Some exoskeletons are leathery, like that of a caterpillar. Both types are waterproof. The exoskeleton keeps the animal from drying out. This characteristic gave arthropods the ability to live on land.
 
3     As arthropods grow larger, they shed their exoskeletons and grow new, bigger ones. This process is called molting. After an arthropod has molted, its new skeleton is soft for a while. It is not as well-protected until the new exoskeleton hardens.

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