Lizard and newt tail regeneration: a quantitative study

J Exp Zool. 1979 Oct;210(1):17-37. doi: 10.1002/jez.1402100104.


Almost perfect fits of the Gompertz equation to the growth in length of tail regenerates in the lizard, Lacerta lepida, and the newt, Notophthalmus viridescens, were obtained. Comparison of certain parameters of the equation with published mitotic index data suggests that the Gompertz equation characterizes each system at least from the time that significant mitotic activity is first observed histologically. An objective method for comparing the regeneration periods of the two species is described and applied. A unified hypothesis derived from consideration of properties of the Gompertz equation successfully accounts for the following phenomena reported, but previously unexplained, in the literature: (1) proximal amputations result in longer regenerates than do distal amputations; (2) proximal amputations elicit greater absolute rates of elongation (in mm/day) than do distal amputations; (3) the percent replaced of the length removed is rather constant, regardless of the absolute length regenerated; and (4) one of the parameters of the Gompertz equation appears to be lognormally distributed in a regenerating population. (See text for references.) A computerized interactive graphical system for normalizing growth equations of individual regenerates and integrating the mathematical model with potential candidates for biological control factors is briefly described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Lizards / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Regeneration*
  • Salamandridae / physiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Tail
  • Temperature
  • Urodela / physiology*