Autotomy


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

autotomy

[ȯ′täd·ə·mē]
(medicine)
Surgical removal of a part of one's own body.
(zoology)
The process of self-amputation of appendages in crabs and other crustaceans and tails in some salamanders and lizards under stress.

Autotomy

 

self-mutilation, a protective reaction observed in many animals upon acute stimulus; for example, seizure by a predator.

Autotomy consists in the spontaneous shedding of extremities, tail, or other parts of the body. The term “autotomy” was introduced and thoroughly examined by the Belgian physiologist L. Fredericq in 1883. Autotomy is encountered in invertebrates—certain hydroid polyps and actinia shed feelers; nemertines and segmented worms shed the end of the body; sea lilies, starfish, and other echinoderms lose arms; mollusks shed siphons; and crustaceans lose claws and other extremities. Among the vertebrates, autotomy is inherent only in lizards, which shed their tails. Autotomy is a reflex process, and the place of autotomy is determined specifically in each animal. For example, in lizards, autotomy is controlled by a nerve center located in the spinal cord, and the breaking occurs with a sharp contraction of muscles in the very spot of the backbone where a transverse cartilage plate is located. Autotomy is usually associated with the ability to regenerate the lost parts of the body; that is, regeneration occurs most easily at the site of autotomy.

References in periodicals archive ?
Nymphs always commence regeneration after autotomy, and regenerated legs are always smaller than non-regenerated legs (Bordage 1905; Ramme 1931; Carlberg 1992; Maginnis 2006b).
Interestingly, size of body may affect use of tail autotomy as a tactic to avoid predators by C.
Autotomy during and immediately after freezing conditions increased in direct proportion to cold exposure and was generally higher in C.
Leg autotomy and avoidance behavior in response to a predator in the wolf spider, Schizocosa avida (Araneae, Lycosidae).
KEY WORDS: histamine, survival, Eriocheir sinensis, Aeromonas hydrophila, hemocyte counts, phenoloxidase, acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase, superoxide dismutase activity, autotomy
Tail-shedding, known to scientists as caudal autotomy, is a common anti-predator defense among lizards.
The crabs were then tested individually for loss or weakness according to the six selected reflexes (loss = 0, weak = 1, strong = 2) (Table 1), and notes were made on autotomy and obvious injuries such as broken legs, cracked carapace, or torn abdomen.
We refer to this induced response as autospasy rather than autotomy, which has been incorrectly used elsewhere and strictly applies to a reflex action alone (after Pieron 1907; Wood 1926; Roth & Roth 1984).
Limb autotomy along with exuvium in freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium malcolmsonii.
The behavioral ecology of two species of harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones): The effects of leg autotomy, parasitism by mites, and aggregation.
Effects of limb autotomy on juvenile blue crab survival from cannibalism.
1990) investigated similar effects in the lizard Scincella lateralis with differences in sprint speed related to tail autotomy.