autotomy

[aw-tot-uh-mee]
noun, plural autotomies.
1.
Zoology.
a.
separation of a body part.
b.
self-amputation of a damaged or trapped appendage.
2.
the performance of surgery upon oneself.

Origin:
1895–1900; auto-1 + -tomy

autotomic [aw-tuh-tom-ik] , autotomous, adjective
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Collins
World English Dictionary
autotomy (ɔːˈtɒtəmɪ)
 
n , pl -mies
the casting off by an animal of a part of its body, to facilitate escape when attacked
 
autotomic
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

autotomy au·tot·o·my (ô-tŏt'ə-mē)
n.
The spontaneous casting off of a body part, especially of an invertebrate, when injured or under attack.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

autotomy

the ability of certain animals to release part of the body that has been grasped by an external agent. A notable example is found among lizards that break off the tail when it is seized by a predator. The phenomenon is found also among certain worms, salamanders, and spiders. The cast-off part is sometimes regenerated

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Adaptive strategies and energetics of tail autotomy in lizards.
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