Latest Autotomy Stories
Public Library of Science [ Watch The Video ] Like sheets of paper marked with perforated lines, gecko tails have unique structural marks that help them sever their tails to make a quick getaway. Though voluntarily shedding a body part in this manner is a well-known phenomenon, research published December 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE reveals aspects of the process that may have applications for structural engineers making similar, quickly detachable structures. Jan Enghild...
University of Michigan ecologists and their colleagues have answered a question that has puzzled biologists for more than a century: What is the main factor that determines a lizard's ability to shed its tail when predators attack? The answer, in a word: Venom. Tail-shedding, known to scientists as caudal autotomy, is a common anti-predator defense among lizards. When attacked, many lizards jettison the wriggling appendage and flee. The predator often feasts on the tail while the lucky lizard...
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