Regeneration of Animal limbs

Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko)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?

10 thoughts on “Regeneration of Animal limbs

  1. This blog was very well put together and very informative. I think it is very neat that some animals can save themselves just by letting go of a limb. By being able to do this animals that have this ability can live way longer. I looked some more into regeneration at: http://www.eurostemcell.org/factsheet/regeneration-what-does-it-mean-and-how-does-it-work and it gave me a tone of more information helping me understand it more. Salamanders and frogs have stem cells just like us, yet we cant regenerate limbs. At that website I learned that researchers indicated that these animals can tell their cells where and where not to go. They are a bunch of other animal cells that relate to human cells yet we cant regenerate limbs. Maybe in the future we will be able to but that would be a long time from now.

  2. I found this blog and the comments to be very interesting. I think one animal that is interesting is the mouse.A study was conducted in the 1980’s at the Wistar institute in philedelphia by Ellen Heber-Katz, the proffesor of immunology. She pierced the ears of a mouse and over time, the holes closed fully. Unlike humans, these mice posses the power to heal themselves, whereas a human’s ears are likely not to close! Also the mice finished the expierament with no appearant scarring from the piercing. http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/10-creatures-that-conveniently-grow-back-body-parts-slideshow.html

  3. I find it amazing that animals are able to regrow lims. It makes for a nice way to get away from predators. But what if humans could regrow limbs? In 2008 Lee Spievack cut off about an inch of his finger. He used a special experimental powder described as “pixie dust” to help regrow his finger. His finger was at its original length in four weeks. The powder comes from a pig’s bladder in which flatten the bladder out and scrape away the layer of muscle and then clean the remaining tissue by shaking it in acid. They then dry of the paper like substance and grind it into a powder. After learing about this just think of the things we could help people with. If you want more info go to this website
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-563099/The-amazing-pixie-dust-pigs-bladder-regrew-severed-finger-FOUR-weeks.html

  4. It is pretty crazy that an animal can grow its limbs back if they were to be cut off or fall off. I don’t know is you knew this but your liver can actually grow back so for an example if someone lost their liver and needed a transplant you could donate part of your liver and it would grow back in there body and your liver would grow back too.

  5. I also found your information interesting. I researched a couple more animals that can regenerate. One was a sponge. The sponge isn’t the ideal animal but it is one and it can regenerate. If a chunk of a sponge is cut off it can grow a whole new sponge. Another animal that can regenerate is the sea cucumber. It can also grow a whole new sea cucumber. Finally another animal that can regenerate is the zebra fish, which not only grow back limbs but also its heart which is amazing for any animal in the world. If only we could do that. I found them on these websites:
    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Sponge
    http://phys.org/news/2011-08-regenerative-powers-animal-kingdom-explored.html

  6. There are many animals that can regenerate new limbs or other body parts. To start, a common animal we don’t think of growing its limbs back is a deer. Every year a deer grows its antlers back, yes it is not a limb but it does grow back. There are also many sea animals with shells that can grow their shells back. For example, the conch can grow its shell back in around three years. Another animal known for growing its limbs back is the zebra fish. If its tail is to be removed it can grow it back in about a week. This process happens by the fish using the cells it has to regenerate a new tail. Overall, there are many more animals that can regenerate new limbs.

    http://www.naturefoundationsxm.org/education/queen_conch/how_queen_conch_grows.htm
    http://www.washington.edu/news/2006/12/26/how-does-a-zebrafish-grow-a-new-tail-the-answer-may-help-treat-human-injuries/
    http://www.iwla-rh.org/html/DGIF_articles/deer_antlers.html

  7. I enjoyed reading your information. I researched other animals that regenerate. I found out that spiders also regenerate. They can grow their arms out. For the leg to regenerate the spider has to have at least one molt reaming in the life cycle. According to Foelix, if the spider’s leg is not completely fallen off, a few segments can regenerate the end of their injury. An autotomized leg will only regenerate if it is lost in the first quarter of the inter molt period. But not all species of spiders can regenerate. They can also regenerate their pedipalps, chelicerae, endites, the labium and spinnerets.

    http://atshq.org/articles/Regeneration.pdf

  8. Well this is a good blog. but there is some things you could add like how long it takes for a limb to grow back on certain animals and how many times they could regrow back. one more animal you should or could add would be the starfish sence its one of the most common ones you hear of regrowing there limbs. starfish limbs if its just the tip it could take up to a few weeks to heal, but if its a hole arm then it could take months.(http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_long_does_it_take_starfish_to_regenerate)
    something that should have been added to lizards is that they cant always grow there tail back and that it could take up to several Months. lizards tails have week bones so if a someone or something pulls or bits it it can break off easly. but this is not a good thing for the lizard because by losing the tail it loses fats and energy that is stored in the tail, and it also makes the lizard slower.
    (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070623153640AACiakZ)

  9. Another animal that can regenerate limbs or there whole body even, is a starfish. They can regrow limbs or even a whole new body just off of one limb. This can happen because almost all of their organs that are necessary to live are located in their arms. Also their blood is only filtered seawater. They are also brainless. Also if the starfish doesn’t follow a certain pattern of regeneration, the limbs may come back not in proportion to the rest of the body. Also in some spots where a limb has been broken those spots become permanently weak spots.
    http://www.bio.davidson.edu/people/midorcas/animalphysiology/websites/2010/Beamer/Regeneration.htm

  10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDdVs4qM1XU&safe=active
    Common reasons a gecko will drop their tail in captivity are; harassment from other cage mates, being sick or low immune system, stress and fear, skin issues, and infections. If the tail falls off and you have your gecko in a sand or substrate substance you will need to remove it to help keep the wound clean, if you have other geckos you may want to separate them. The temperature in the tank with the gecko that has lost its tail should be 90 degrees. If your gecko is starting to get an infection you can put Neosporin on the base of tail. If tail is not getting better after 3 to 5 days take the gecko to a qualified veterinarian. Tail may take from 30 to 60 days to regrow.

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