Sunday, May 10, 2009


Some of my followers are probably familiar with this term, but I only learned the word autotomy last night. I was hunting down information about lizards who get away by breaking off their tails. The word comes from the Greek (auto = "self-" and tomy = "severing") and the idea is that to escape from a predator, an animal will self-amputate the appendage by which it is being held. The tail (or the arm or leg, in the case of starfish, octopi, crabs, lobsters, and spiders) will at least partially regenerate, but the color will usually be different and cartilage will replace bone. But the creepy part is that - in the case of geckos, skinks, and other lizards - the detached tail will continue to wiggle to distract the predator! See for yourself!

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.