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In order to grow, invertebrates - with some exceptions - have to go through a process called moulting. Moulting is basically shedding the exoskeleton, or skin, and replacing it with a new one. At this time they're very vulnerable as their bodies are very soft. They harden by excreting chitin but while they are still soft, they need to grow by eating their old exoskeleton, otherwise the moulting will have been pointless!