Unprecedented shield: Chitin

Rain forests, deserts, hot water springs, polar regions, glaciers, cones and seeds…All these are only some of the habitat of insects…These tiny miraculous beings living mostly on lands have spread all over the world because of their extraordinary structures. One of the properties that protect insects from threats in their environments is the “chitin” that covers them almost like a shield.

Mostly an outer skeleton (exoskeleton) made up of chitin covers the bodies of insects. Chitin, which is a hard substance, provides strength to the outer skeleton. This skeleton protects the insect from external threats and perils miraculously.

The most amazing property of chitin is its strength similar to an iron armor. Antennas, wings, tracheas or feathers may also contain chitin. Furthermore even the edges of the insect wings may become as sharp as knives because of chitin.

However because chitinous exoskeletons do not  grow parallel to the growth of insects, some insect species may be obliged to change their skins especially during their development. This is a gradual process. As the dimensions of their bodies change so do their exoskeletons. There are even insects that change their chitinous exoskeletons 30 times throughout  their lives.

These are only some of the amazing features of insect communities. Almighty Allah, the infinite possessor of knowledge, equips all insects with flawless systems and makes each one of them a sign of Creation. As Allah relates us in the following verse:


“Among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and earth and all the creatures He has spread about in them…” (Surat ash-Shura, 29)


2011-05-01 13:39:11

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