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Science2 - 00081

Science2 - 00081 - Untitled reflex action it jettisons the...

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Untitled reflex action it jettisons the captured arm and escapes. And what is lost is gradually regrown. The crab gets its leg broken past all mending; it casts off the leg across a weak breakage plane near the base, and within a preformed bandage which prevents bleeding a new leg is formed in miniature. Such is the adaptive device--more reflex than reflective--which is called self-mutilation or autotomy. In another part of this book there is a discussion of camouflaging and protective resemblance; how abundantly these are illustrated on the shore! But there are other "shifts for a living." Some of the sand-hoppers and their relatives illustrate the puzzling phenomenon of "feigning death," becoming suddenly so motionless that they escape the eyes of their enemies. Cuttlefishes, by discharging sepia from their ink-bags, are able to throw dust in the eyes of their enemies. Some undisguised shore-animals, e.g. crabs, are adepts in a hide-and-seek
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