Some lizards are famous for their ability to voluntarily shed their tail to elude predators (Autotomy). After a while, the tail will be regenerated, though with slightly different qualities, as visible in this photograph:


My question: Can this regrown tail be discarded again voluntarily, or is it a one-time feat?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, a regrown tail can be dropped again. It is the primary survival trait of some species. $\endgroup$ – Verdant Drift Jul 12 '15 at 16:17

Short answer: many species can drop a regrown tail again and again again, however a few can only drop it once, while some lizards cannot drop their tails at all. It all depends on the species.

Background information:

According to this site the tail will only be able to be shed above the site it originally broke off. Although according to UCSB there are a few species of lizard that only have their tail grow back once.

Every site I've visited has said that the tail is nearly a completely different structure than the one it originally had. The original tail has "score marks" (fracture planes) which were studied by Sanggaard et al. (there are a few figures that you can see in their paper).

However, according to W. N. F. Woodland, D.Sc. (Lond.), there is no apparent limit to the amount of times a Gecko can drop its tail, "save the longevity of the animal". His paper goes into great detail, and has a lot of information about autotomy (limb dropping) of the gecko. I highly recommend going through it if you're interested.

So tail re-dropping looks like it primarily depends on the lizard that you're studying.

  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't actually answer the question: Can this regrown tail be discarded again voluntarily $\endgroup$ – FloriOn Jul 12 '15 at 22:27
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    $\begingroup$ The last paragraph says there is no limit to the amount of times they can disgusts their tail... $\endgroup$ – SolarLunix Jul 13 '15 at 7:47
  • $\begingroup$ But @FloriOn , I added a summery bit to make it more clear. $\endgroup$ – SolarLunix Jul 13 '15 at 7:53
  • $\begingroup$ But you've written, that the tail is nearly a completely different structure. And actually the regrown tail doesn't have those fracture planes, you have mentioned, so can't be discarded voluntarily. $\endgroup$ – FloriOn Jul 13 '15 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ Again, it depends on the species of lizard. Some can drop it again and again, others can only drop it above the place that it had been dropped before and others can only drop it once. @FloriOn $\endgroup$ – SolarLunix Jul 13 '15 at 9:28