What’s so special about arthropod legs?
As you’ll soon see, arthropod limbs have diversified over evolutionary time into a variety of useful shapes. This diversification was enabled by a few key characteristics of the arthropod limb:
- Exoskeleton: With a hard skeleton on the outside and soft tissue on the inside, arthropod legs can be adapted to do tough jobs (like prying open clam shells and slicing up other arthropods).
- Joints: Joints allow appendages to flex, pinch, sweep, flap, probe, strike and more. This increased range of motion provided by joints allows the limbs to evolve a variety of functions.
- Multiple copies: Having many legs means that there are more legs to handle specialized tasks. Some legs can be used for walking, while others can evolve to probe, grasp or swim.
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