the reflex action by which a leg, claw, tail, etc., as of a lobster, starfish, or lizard, is broken off at a special joint when the part is damaged, seized, etc.: the missing part then regenerates
Origin of autotomyauto- + -tomy
The spontaneous casting off of a limb or other body part, such as the tail of certain lizards or the claw of a lobster, especially when the organism is injured or under attack.
- au′to·tom′ic au′tot′o·mous