by Nicole Webster

Autotomy is a common defense mechanism for many animals; leave a small part behind to distract your predator, while your important parts escape to play again another day.

Two well known marine examples are many crustaceans and echinoderms (not exactly a small subset, hey?), both groups that have excellent regenerative powers (crustaceans at each moult, and echinoderms, well… because they’re made of magic*). A recent paper has shown this feature in a new group: squids. It was known already that octopuses can also autotomize, but my favorite part of this article is that the squid will actually counter-attack it’s predator (or bottle-brush, see video), attaching the arm before dropping it and jettisoning to safety. Not only does the dropped limb grasp its attacker and wiggle distractingly, it also glows!

You can read about the article, which was expertly summarized by Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science, here.

*No, not actually, but they are amazing!

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