Starfish Facts

Did you know that the starfish is not really a fish? Read on for more starfish facts, each more interesting than the last...
| Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Starfish have always fascinated me but the inspiration to write an article on them came when I bought my little boy a set of bath toys. As I opened the set this little orange plastic starfish with white eyes and a large smile looked so cute that I had to write something about this creature of the sea. My little one loves the starfish toy the best and of course I do too, this article on starfish facts is proof enough!

Starfish Facts

  • Starfish have radial symmetry and belong to the kingdom animalia and class asteroidea.
  • The average lifespan of the sea star is up to 35 years in the wild while the average weight amounts to about 5 kilograms.
  • Starfish can be found in coral reefs as well as sea beds that are located deep in the oceans.
  • These beautiful animals prey on bivalves such as clams, mussels apart from snails, small fish and barnacles.
  • Also known as sea stars, starfish are not really fish. In fact starfish belong to the phylum echinodermata. Starfish are closely related to sea urchins and sand dollars.
  • Unlike what the name suggests all starfish do not have five arms. There are starfish that have 10, 20 and 40 arms as well.
  • Starfish are blessed with an unusual feature because of which they are able to regenerate limbs with some even able to regenerate entire bodies. They accomplish this task by housing their vital organs in their arms. Some sea stars can regenerate even when all that is left of them is a severed limb!
  • Sea stars protect themselves from predators using their calcified and bony body. Some starfish even wear striking colors that either scare predators off or help them camouflage themselves.
  • Yes it true that most starfish are able to consume prey outside their bodies! Sea stars accomplish this task by the use of tiny cupped feet that are fitted with suction. These feet help them pry open oysters and clams after which their sack like stomach comes from their mouth and enters into the shell. This stomach envelopes the prey and digests it after which it finds its way back into the body.
  • Another amazing fact about the starfish is that it does not have blood or brains. The so called blood present in a starfish's body is nothing more than filtered seawater whereas the nervous system of the starfish is spread throughout its arms.
  • Starfish's tube feet that are located on their underside help it to move. These feet are filled with sea water that is brought in through its madreporite or sieve plate that are located on its underside. These tube feet also help the sea star hold its prey.
  • Unlike the two eyes that humans have, starfish have an eye spot at the end of each arm. Resembling a red spot this eye doesn't provide much detail but helps the starfish sense light and dark.
  • Since starfish do not move fast enough fish, rays, sharks, crabs, birds as well as humans prey on them when they are find themselves on the shore.
  • Apart from all the facts above the starfish is also able to change its gender as and when required. About 2 million eggs can be released by the female starfish which are then fertilized by the male. These eggs once fertilized turn into larvae and swim about for about 3 weeks after which the process of metamorphosis begins.
   
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