Overview

autotomy


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The voluntary severance by an animal of a part of its body (commonly one of its own limbs), usually to escape capture by a predator that has seized that part. The part then regrows. Autotomy of the claws occurs in some Crustacea and of the tail in some Lacertilia (lizards). It is a defensive mechanism: in some lizards the detached tail continues to wriggle, distracting the predator while the lizard escapes.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.


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