chito-, chit-, chiton-
(Greek: tunic, covering; a reference to the chemical constituent of crab and lobster shells)
The outer covering of arthropods, the cuticle, is impregnated in its outer layers with chitin, which makes the exoskeleton more rigid.
It is associated with protein to give a uniquely tough yet flexible and light skeleton, which also has the advantage of being waterproof.
The chitinous plates are thinner for bending and flexibility or thicker for stiffness as required. The plates can not grow once they are laid down and are broken down at each molt.
2. Descriptive of elements referring to chitin.