Re-regeneration to reduce negative effects associated with tail loss in lizards
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© 2019, The Author(s). Many species of lizard use caudal autotomy, the ability to self-amputate a portion of their tail, regenerated over time, as an effective anti-predation mechanism. The importance of this tactic for survival depends on the degree of predation risk. There are, however, negative trade-offs to losing a tail, such as loss of further autotomy opportunities with the regenerated tail vertebrae being replaced by a continuous cartilaginous rod. The common consensus has been that once a tail has been autotomised and regenerated it can only be autotomised proximal to the last vertebral autotomy point, as the cartilage rod lacks autotomy planes. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that although the regenerated portion of the tail is unable to autotomise, it can re-regenerate following a physical shearing event. We assessed re-regeneration in three populations of the King’s skink (Egernia kingii), a large lizard endemic to south-west Western Australia and surrounding islands. We show that re-regeneration is present at an average of 17.2% across the three populations, and re-regenerated tissue can comprise up to 23.3% of an individual’s total tail length. The ability to re-regenerate may minimise the costs to an individual’s fitness associated with tail loss, efficiently restoring ecological functions of the tail.
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Fleming, P.; Valentine, L.; Bateman, Bill (2013)Caudal autotomy is a common defense mechanism in lizards, where the animal may lose part or all of its tail to escape entrapment. Lizards show an immense variety in the degree of investment in a tail (i.e., length) across ...
Frequency of tail loss reflects variation in predation levels, predator efficiency, and the behaviour of three populations of brown anolesBateman, Bill; Fleming, P. (2011)We investigated two predictions regarding the incidence of tail regeneration in lizards for three populations ofbrown anoles exposed to varying predation levels from the same predator (cats). Firstly although inefficientpredators ...
To cut a long tail short: A review of lizard caudal autotomy studies carried out over the last 20 yearsBateman, Bill; Fleming, P. (2009)Caudal autotomy, the ability to shed the tail, is common in lizards as a response toattempted predation. Since Arnold’s substantial review of caudal autotomy as adefence in reptiles 20 years ago, our understanding of the ...