Walk along most beaches and you will find discarded crab shells. But not only adult crabs moult – crab embryos also complete three moult cycles,the last of which is analogous to egg hatching in insects. On p. 4751, Chung and Webster describe in detail the developmental expression of the neurohormones that control embryonic moulting in green shore crabs. In adult crustaceans,ecdysis is controlled by at least three neuropeptides: moult-inhibiting hormone (MIH), crustacean hyperglycaemic hormone (CHH) and crustacean cardioactive peptide. The researchers combine quantitative RT-PCR and developmental peptide analyses to reveal the microanatomy of neurosecretory neurones that express MIH and CHH during embryogenesis, and compare this with the expression of two neuropeptides with neuromodulatory, as well as neurohormonal, roles. This research lays the groundwork for the use of gene-silencing technologies to study invertebrate neuroendocrinology in a simple model system.