Costs of autotomy, an antipredator defence, are typically explained by impaired mobility; yet physiologically mediated costs may also play a role. Given the resemblance to wounding, a decreased immune function and an associated reduction in antioxidant defence is expected after autotomy. In line with this, after lamellae autotomy, larvae of the damselfly Lestes viridis showed lower levels of innate immunity (i.e. phenoloxidase, PO) and antioxidant defence (superoxide dismutase, SOD). Levels of catalase (CAT) remained, however, unaffected. In line with its cytotoxicity, PO covaried positively with CAT, yet negatively with SOD. We identified a novel cost of autotomy in terms of a reduced innate immunity, which may provide an alternative explanation for the often observed costs of autotomy and which may generate indirect interactions between predators and parasites.