The regeneration of Animal limbs is mind boggling. How can you lose a limb and grow it back? It doesn’t make sense. But with many animals this is a rather normal occurrence. To escape from predators they will shed a limb, hoping it will distract that animal so they can make their escape. Sometimes it works, but in some cases it doesn’t. (Science News Online)
The process of shedding limbs is called autonomy. At the base of each limb is a special muscle which bends until it breaks at a specially weakened place, this place is called the breaking point. At the beginning only a miniature replacement of the shed limb is formed, but when the animal shed its skin the limb grows rapidly to almost the size of the original limb. (Encyclopedia of Science)
Gecko’s can shed their tails and the nub will live up to a few hours. The nub can wiggle and hop, and the reason for this is so it will hopefully distract the predator long enough for the gecko to make its escape to safety. If your saw a little nub just hopping around wouldn’t you want to stop and check it out? This is what the gecko is hoping for. The predator thinks it’s another animal, so they take off after it rather than the gecko. And yes, their tail does grow back after time.
Crabs also have the ability to shed limbs. If they are unfortunate enough to get their claw stuck in a fishermen’s net they can shed that claw and hopefully escape back to safety. Or if one of their legs gets caught somewhere, they can shed that leg. The limbs that get shed regrow, but they won’t look the same.
Flatworm’s can also shed themselves. They are a type of microscopic worm. When they are cut in half they can form new animals. The cells of the cutoff lose their individuality and become alike. They grow and divide, and begin growing back to the correct shape. Gradually they become working again, and go back to their normal functions. The head is the coordination’s region and, if missing, is always the first formed structure in the regenerating body. And until there is a head the other organs cannot be reformed.
In conclusion shedding can be a way for some animals to gain extra time so that they can maybe save their life. It destracts the predator’s from going after the animal, instead it pays attention to the nub or whatever limb is being shed.
If you could shed any limb what would you choose?