I'm fond of a insect race in a videogame, and want to base a race off of them, or write a fan fiction, but they flex a bit in the torso, and I wasn't sure... Hope this makes sense. :)

Animated picture below :D Space pirate from Metroid.


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I added a smaller version, so you guys can see more details. :)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, LucineAura! Just for completeness, would you mind including the species you have in mind? It may provide additional details answerers can use. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ How flexible? For maximal flexibility an insectoid could have overlapping plates of chitin, sort of like an armadillo. $\endgroup$
    – Era
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 15:38

2 Answers 2



The biological feature you're looking for is called segmentation.

Arthropod exoskeletons have very defined functional units broken down into groups called tagma. These tagma are groups of segments such as the thorax, the head, the abdomen, etc. Each of these groups are connected by joints.

After all, the word arthropoda means "jointed legs."

It doesn't necessarily have to be an insectoid creature but insects are among the arthropods along with other creatures like crustaceans and arachnids. The material chitin (which is a polymer) connects the joints in these creatures, and it's noted for being very flexible and durable.

In regards to your flexibility in the torso region, I found in New Zealand Journal of Zoology (1986) a detailed maneuver of a female jumping spider called the twist lunge.

This usually happened when the female's abdomen was rotated and the male either had his palp engaged or was scraping with his palp. The female then suddenly twist lunged by rotating her cephalothorax toward the male (i.e., moving her cephalothorax into alignment with her abdomen) simultaneously making scooping motions with her legs, and moving her extended fangs toward the male.

Flexibility as described above is something you want to look for when trying to make creatures like this, since it utilizes anatomical terms of motion (Flexion, abduction, elevation, rotation, etc.)

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the information, I really appreciate it. :) And thanks for the edit too. $\endgroup$
    – LucineAura
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry if this is a dumb question, so the torso of the alien in the pic I posted, is made of chitin then? It appears that there is a sliding motion of the torso as he breathes, moves, that's what I'm wondering about most of all. Thanks for the description of the spider however, that is something I can look up later, maybe I can find a video. $\endgroup$
    – LucineAura
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ @LucineAura The torso would be made of sclerotin and chitin. And yes, the individual segments do flex and bend. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ Nitpick, but spiders aren't insects. For an example of insect flexibility, see for instance the way dragonflies can bend their abdomen: arkive.org/emperor-dragonfly/anax-imperator/image-A24306.html $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf Yes, that's why I said that arachnids are included in arthropods. I didn't call the spider an insect. :/ $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 19:16

According to this,

The exoskeleton of insects is primarily made of proteins (sclerotin) and chitin (polysaccharide molecules), which are interwoven and linked together to form strong but flexible bundles.

The question here is how flexible you want the exoskeleton would be. Also, it would be nice if you provided the fictional video game insect species you were thinking of as FrostFyre requested in the comments. I'll update my answer once you do.

  • $\begingroup$ Done :D Hope it's correct to my question though XD I try and understand things, but I could have defined something entirely different. $\endgroup$
    – LucineAura
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 15:59

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