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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.’