Starfish

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The Starfish – or Sea Star – may be one of the most beautiful creatures in the ocean. They’re fascinating beings to only be a little larger than a tea cup. Let’s check out some facts about the starfish you may not know.

  • A starfish isn’t really a fish.
  • Starfish are also called sea stars.
  • A starfish is an echinoderm.
  • An echinoderm is a type of marine animal that have a similar number of body parts arranged around a central axis, a calcium containing inner skeleton and a water vascular system.
  • Sand dollars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers are other types of echinoderms.
  • There are around 2,000 species of starfish.
  • Starfish are found in every ocean.
  • Starfish do not live in freshwaters like lakes or streams
  • Starfish can come in many colors. Some common colors are red, orange, yellow and coral colors.
  • A common starfish has 5 arms, but some starfish have up to 40 arms!
  • Starfish have the ability to regrow their arms.
  • If a starfish is caught by a predator they will sometimes drop their arms to escape then grow them back.
  • Depending on the species starfish can be between 4-11 inches big.
  • They can weigh up to 11 pounds.
  • The lifespan of a starfish also depends on species, some live up to 35 years.
  • Starfish are carnivores meaning they are meat eaters.
  • Starfish eat clams, oysters, snails and tiny fish.
  • Starfish do not have blood or brains.
  • Instead of blood they have a water vascular system.
  • Different species of starfish feel different. Some have a leather like feel others feel prickly.
  • Starfish cannot swim. They move across the ocean by hundreds of tube feet on their arms and body.
  • Starfish have tiny microscopic eyes at the top of each arm.
  • Even though they have many eyes they cannot see very well.
  • A starfish’s mouth is in the center of their underside.
  • They have two stomachs.
  • Female starfish can make millions of eggs.
  • They release the eggs into ocean never going back to care for them.
  • Starfish can change gender from male to female or female to male at any time.
  • When they capture prey, they have tiny suction cups to grab ahold of their food. Then their stomach exits their mouth to digest the food, and reenters the body when they’re done eating.
  • Sadly, millions of sea stars on North America’s Pacific coast have died. Since the summer of 2013, the creatures have been losing their limbs. They are falling apart. Their bodies are turning into slime and piles of tiny bones. Now, scientists believe they have isolated what’s causing the disease. It’s a virus. It is spreading through the region’s starfish.