Leave it all behind: a taxonomic perspective of autotomy in invertebrates

  title={Leave it all behind: a taxonomic perspective of autotomy in invertebrates},
  author={Patricia A. Fleming and Davina Muller and Philip W. Bateman},
  journal={Biological Reviews},
Autotomy is defined herein as the shedding of a body part, where (1) the loss of the body part is defensive (autotomy helps prevent the whole animal from being compromised and is in response to external stimuli); (2) shearing occurs by an intrinsic mechanism along a breakage plane (there has been selection for certain body parts to be pulled off easily); and (3) the loss is controlled ‐ the animal moves away from the trapped limb, the loss is under some form of central control (neural or… 
Morphology of an autotomy fracture plane explains some of the variation in the latency to autotomize
It is found that individuals with larger fracture planes took longer to autotomize when the authors statistically controlled for an individual’s body size and sex, which supports previous assumptions about the relationship between fracture plane size and latency to Autotomize.
An intra- and interspecific study of body size and autotomy as a defense in Orthoptera
Behavioral observations of Orthoptera strongly suggest that body size and mass may be an important determinant of the use of autotomy as an escape mechanism within the Order, possibly due to the effects of body size upon the efficacy of autotomization, as well as other defense mechanisms.
Is partial tail loss the key to a complete understanding of caudal autotomy
It is argued that most studies of caudal autotomy in lizards have focused on complete tail loss and failed to consider variation in the amount of tail shed, and therefore the understanding of this anti-predator behaviour is more limited than previously thought.
The ecology and evolution of autotomy
It is found that the ability to drop an appendage has evolved multiple times throughout Animalia and that once autotomy has evolved, selection appears to act on the removable appendage to increase the efficacy and/or efficiency of autotomy.
Characterization of Arm Autotomy in the Octopus, Abdopus aculeatus (d'Orbigny, 1834)
The relatively high frequency of individuals missing arms in the wild suggest that autotomy plays an important defense role for A. aculeatus and needs further characterization to identify the underlying cause.
Consequences of lost endings: caudal autotomy as a lens for focusing attention on tail function during locomotion
A framework for thinking about how tail loss can affect fitness through its effects on locomotion is developed, and results from past studies are reviewed to inform and support this framework.
Scorpion Sheds ‘Tail’ to Escape: Consequences and Implications of Autotomy in Scorpions (Buthidae: Ananteris)
Autotomy of the metasoma (the hind part of the opisthosoma, or ‘tail’) in fourteen species of Ananteris appears to be an effective, adaptive, anti-predation escape mechanism.
Economy of arm autotomy in the mesopelagic squid Octopoteuthis deletron
O. deletron is the first squid reported to autotomize its arms, the only cephalopod known to be capable of economy of autotomy , and is one of ver y few species known to use attack autotomy, whereby a predator is grasped by a body part that is subsequently autotomized.
First Record of Autotomy in the Neotropical Scorpion Ananteris cussinii Borelli, 1910 in Trinidad, W.I.
This paper serves as a first report of metasomal autonomy occurring in yet another species, Ananteris cussinii in Trinidad, W.I.
Autotomy in plants: organ sacrifice in Oxalis leaves
This study characterize the autotomy mechanism in the leaves of an invasive plant of South African origin, Oxalis pes-caprae, and concludes that leaf fracture in Oxalis is facilitated by an amplification of the far-field stress in the vicinity of local, but abrupt, geometrical modification in the form of a notch.


Autotomy as a prelude to regeneration in echinoderms
  • I. Wilkie
  • Medicine
    Microscopy research and technique
  • 2001
There is as yet little evidence for or against the presence of specific regeneration‐promoting adaptations at autotomy planes, although it is argued that an autotomy plane designed primarily to effect rapid detachment would by itself increase regenerative efficiency.
Autotomy of walking legs in the Pacific Shore crab Hemigrapsus oregonesis
Segmental and lateral interaction and the characteristics of individual responses suggest that autotomy of legs in the crab, while depending upon specific structural features of the legs, is less a unisegmental reflex, than an accident occurring during escape.
Observations and histological sections before and after autotomy have shown that loss is achieved with rapid contraction of the circular and radial muscles of the siphon wall about one of the weakness planes.
Tentacle autotomy in the hydromedusa Aglantha digitale (Cnidaria) : an ultrastructural and neurophysiological analysis
It is suggested that the active mechanisms for tentacle autotomy include strong contraction of muscle tails on either side of the autotomy plane and activation of VAP cells, which somehow lower the tensile strength of autotomy Plane mesoglea.
The Cost of Arm Autotomy in the Starfish Stichaster-Striatus
As the pyloric caeca are used as nutrient reserves, individuals with autotomized arms would have a lesser capacity to withstand low availability of food and, as the caeca1 reserves can be used for gametogenesis, a decreased capacity for reproduction.
Flight or fight: flexible antipredatory strategies in porcelain crabs
Porcelain crabs demonstrate adaptive flexibility, employing the costly strategy of autotomizing a limb as a last resort, only when their chance at success by struggling is low.
The morphology of autotomy structures in the sea cucumber Eupentacta quinquesemita before and during evisceration.
  • M. Byrne
  • Medicine, Biology
    The Journal of experimental biology
  • 2001
Evisceration in the dendrochirotid sea cucumber Eupentacta quinquesemita is a whole-body response involving a predictable series of events including muscle contraction and failure of three autotomy
Hair-trigger autotomy in porcelain crabs is a highly effective escape strategy
Reliance on autotomy as a primary mechanism for escaping predators may be particularly common in small crabs that cannot adequately defend themselves by other means and in suspension-feeding crabs that do not need their chelipeds for feeding.
Effect of leg type and sex on autotomy in the Texas bush katydid, Scudderia texensis
Katydids of Scudderia texensis autotomized legs by severing the femur with their mandibles. Autotomy of legs was delayed in males relative to females and in individuals autotomizing a leg bearing a
Spider leg autotomy induced by prey venom injection: An adaptive response to "pain"?
  • T. EisnerS. Camazine
  • Biology, Medicine
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1983
Field observations showed orb-weaving spiders (Argiope spp.) to undergo leg autotomy if they are stung in a leg by venomous insect prey (Phymata fasciata), suggesting the sensing mechanism by which spiders detect injected harmful chemicals such as venoms may be fundamentally similar to the one in humans that is coupled with the perception of pain.