17 Crucial Difference Between Endoskeleton and Exoskeleton with Examples

What is the difference between endoskeleton and exoskeleton?

The endoskeleton and exoskeleton are parts of the body of a living organism. It has a complicated network of various organs.

Endoskeleton is the hard part which is the internal support of the structure and it is developed from endoderm. It is called a living structure.

The exoskeleton is the hard part that is outside the body and it protects the inner soft tissues and muscles. It develops from ectoderm and mostly referred to as a non-living structure.

The main difference between endoskeleton and exoskeleton is that endoskeleton is hard to part found inside the body while the exoskeleton is hard to part found outside the body.

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Difference Between Endoskeleton and Exoskeleton

Comparison Table (Endoskeleton vs Exoskeleton)

CharacteristicsEndoskeletonExoskeleton
Where locatedIt is found inside the body.It is found outside the body.
DevelopmentIn vertebrates; cartilage and bones are deposited.In arthropods; chitin and proteins are deposited.
Body sizeSupport large body size.Support small body size.
MovementBy muscles pulling on the joint.By jointed appendages
Protection from predatorsBy moving away.Modification such as spikes or camouflage.
Protection from sourcesStrong protection.Usually, not very strong protection.
Repair and replacementIt takes a long time to repair or replace.Can be replaced quickly.
Blood supplyBones contain blood supply.It has no blood supply.
StructureIt is a living structure.It is a non-living structure.
FlexibilityMore flexible.Less flexible.
Blood VesselHas Blood capillariesLack blood capillaries
SupportLarge body sizeSmall body size
GrowthGrow with the bodyDoes not grow with the body
DevelopEndodermEctoderm
ComponentsCalcium and PhosphorusScales, chitinous cuticle, or calcified shells.
ExamplesThey include chordates including all vertebrates.They include; arthropods, crustaceans, and mollusks.

What is Endoskeleton?

Endoskeleton is an internal skeleton present in the body of a living organism. In vertebrates, the endoskeleton develops in cartilage and bones.

The bony skeleton allows vertebrate animals to large in size as it provides support to hold on weight. It enhances movement as it provides enough surface for muscle attachment. Skeletal muscles are attached to bones by tendons.

As vertebrates are able to move, this can enable them to flee from their predators. The bony endoskeleton provides protection for internal organs. For instance, the ribcage is a strong structure that protects the lungs and heart.

When the bones break, they take a long time to heal. As vertebrate animals age, their bones are weakened leading to reduced height and mobility.

The bones contain a blood supply and in case it is broken then someone is liable to lose a lot of blood. Examples of animals with endoskeleton include; chordates including all vertebrates.

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What is Exoskeleton?

The exoskeleton is the external skeleton that exists in an organism. It is the coating that is hard and provides support to the body and protects the muscles and soft tissues of the body.

It also protects animals from their predators and an unconducive environment. It develops from ectoderm. The exoskeleton in invertebrates is formed from various proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals.

In arthropod, it develops when chitin is deposited and combined with proteins. It inhibits the growth of an animal. It is light in weight and this makes the animals move easily.

It does not protect much from physical forces like the endoskeleton. An insect can develop spikes on its exoskeleton to protect itself from predators.

It can easily be repaired or replaced as the animal’s molt. It sheds the old exoskeleton and deposits a new one.  Examples of animals with an exoskeleton include; arthropods, crustaceans, and mollusks.

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Main Difference between Endoskeleton and Exoskeleton

  1. Endoskeleton is found inside the body while the exoskeleton is found outside the body.
  2. The endoskeleton supports a large body size while the exoskeleton supports a small body size.
  3. The endoskeleton moves muscles by pulling on the joints while the exoskeleton moves the jointed appendages.
  4. Endoskeleton protects themselves from predators by moving away while exoskeleton protect themselves by developing spikes or camouflaging.
  5. It takes a long time to repair and replace the endoskeleton while it takes a shorter time to replace the exoskeleton as the animals molt.
  6. Endoskeleton is living structures while exoskeleton is non-living structures.
  7. Endoskeleton is more flexible while the exoskeleton is less flexible.

Similarities between Endoskeleton and Exoskeleton

  1. They are both made of hard parts.
  2. They both give support to the body of an organism.

In Conclusion

The endoskeleton and exoskeleton are hard parts found in the body of an organism. Endoskeleton is a hard to part found inside the body of an organism while the exoskeleton is a hard to part found outside the body of an organism.

The endoskeleton develops from endoderm and it is a living structure. The exoskeleton develops from an ectoderm and it is a non-living structure. The main feature that makes the endoskeleton different from the exoskeleton is where it is located.

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