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.