Meaning of autotomy in English:


Pronunciation /ɔːˈtɒtəmi/


mass nounZoology
  • The casting off of a part of the body (e.g. the tail of a lizard) by an animal under threat.

    ‘The characteristics that best predicted autotomy - smaller body size or female gender - also correlated with a lower escape rate by the alternative escape tactic, struggling and pinching the predator.’
    • ‘Through a process called autotomy, muscles can contract violently along the base of an appendage, breaking off the limb.’
    • ‘I could not assess at what point during the predation encounters the lizards employed autotomy.’
    • ‘As in crustaceans, autotomy must be done before a critical period (about 3 days posthatching) so that there is sufficient time to regenerate the appendage before the next ecdysis.’