Attack Autotomy: A Defense against Predators

Science  17 Jul 1970:
Vol. 169, Issue 3942, pp. 300-301
DOI: 10.1126/science.169.3942.300


The response of five species of crabs to simulated predator attack was examined. Two terrestrial species autotomized their chelipeds after the chelae were firmly attached to the predator. Selection for attack autotomy is balanced by selection for retention of the cheliped whenever the cheliped is important in social or maintenance functions.