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Unique structural features facilitate lizard tail autotomy

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Autotomy refers to the voluntary shedding of a body part; a renowned example is tail loss among lizards as a response to attempted predation. Although many aspects of lizard tail autotomy have been studied, the detailed morphology and mechanism remains unclear. In the present study, we showed that tail shedding by the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) and the associated extracellular matrix (ECM) rupture were independent of proteolysis. Instead, lizard caudal autotomy relied on biological adhesion facilitated by surface microstructures. Results based on bio-imaging techniques demonstrated that the tail of Gekko gecko was pre-severed at distinct sites and that its structural integrity depended on the adhesion between these segments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalP L o S One
Volume7
Issue12
Pages (from-to)e51803
Number of pages8
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2012

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