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Losing your head

Geoff Read g.read at niwa.co.nz
Thu Mar 3 15:42:29 EST 2005

> Seems like most of the scissiparous (I'm looking forward to
> using that word in polite conversation sometime in the next year) critters
> either live in dense mats, tubicolous, burrowers, or otherwise tend to
> protect their backsides while exposing their heads to potential cropping by
> crabs, fish, etc.  

It's a while since I tried to make sense of all the "Schizo-" terms used in
polychaetology but I thought scissiparous is intentional *reproduction* by
splitting, usually applied to stolonising syllids?  Certainly 'parous' implies
birth & thus multiplication.  

At the moment I can't think of an existing impressive shorthand for "I can
regenerate my head if you bite it off" (cephalic ablation).  Cropping losses, 
particularly of tails, are a known part of secondary production. I guess if 
you're a worm you've got to be (genetically) prepared for such contingencies, 
but not actually encourage the event (the quick and the headless!).


  Geoff Read <g.read at niwa.co.nz>

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