How Do Arthropods Move?

arthropods-move Credit: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab/CC-BY 2.0

Most arthropods move through their segmental appendages. Their exoskeleton and muscles, which are connected to the inside of the skeleton, act together as a lever system, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica. The exoskeleton provides a large surface area for muscle attachment, supports movement and provides protection from the environment.

All arthropods have jointed appendages, according to a laboratory guide at Tulane University. They do everything with their legs, including swimming, creeping, crawling, sensing, biting, stinging and even chewing. They chew sideways with the use of their legs. A tough cuticle consisting of proteins and chitin protects their bodies, and it acts as an exoskeleton for arthropods. Most have very small exoskeletons, although a few lobsters have exoskeletons that reach up to a meter.

According to the Oceanic Research Group, arthropods have many joints in their exoskeletons to enable them to move in such a rigid body. These joints allow them to bend in only one direction, but they are well-developed. Lobsters are very flexible when needed, and they are able to rotate their claws properly to pinch their captor. Crustaceans, which are a subphylum of arthropods, have five pairs of appendages. The front pair typically has claws, while the other four pairs serve as walking legs. Some species have smaller pincers in the second and third pairs of legs.