autotomy

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autotomy 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.

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autotomy The shedding by an animal of part of its body followed by the regeneration of the lost part. Autotomy is achieved by the contraction of muscles at specialized regions in the body. It serves as a protective mechanism if the animal is damaged or attacked (e.g. tail loss in certain reptiles) and is common as a method of asexual reproduction in polychaete worms, in which both new head and tail regions may be regenerated.

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au·tot·o·my / ôˈtätəmē/ • n. Zool. the casting off of a part of the body (e.g., the tail of a lizard) by an animal under threat.

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autotomy 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.