One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
also treated as singular The cast or sloughed skin of an animal, especially of an insect larva.
- ‘Emerged adult Axarus and shed pupal exuviae were removed from the trap daily.’
- ‘Within 48 hours, we washed the samples, removing inorganic material and invertebrate cases and exuviae, and sieved them through 1 mm mesh.’
- ‘All specimens are exuviae, with thin and fragile carapaces and abdomens and fragmentary bodies and appendages.’
- ‘This assemblage, perhaps representing an accumulation of molted exuviae, was apparently preserved as the result of rapid burial by carbonate muds and silts during a storm event.’
- ‘Whether the retainment of exuviae is characteristic of the species is open to question.’
Mid 17th century: from Latin, literally ‘animal skins, spoils of the enemy’, from exuere ‘divest oneself of’.
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