Monday, September 3, 2012

Squishy Sea Stars!



Sea Stars live on the ocean floor.             (Photo credit: Paul Shaffner)
Sea Stars are water-filled, squishy, and adorable animals! There are different kinds of Sea Stars, the most popular being the five-armed "Starfish". Starfish are not actually Fish, so I call them Sea Stars instead! Fish are animals that have backbones (and are called "vertebrates"), while Sea Stars don't have a backbone (and are called "invertebrates"). This means that Sea Stars are very soft!





I'm holding a Sun Star!                      (Photo credit: N. Collins)

This is a purple Sun Star that I worked with at the Ocean Sciences Center in Logy Bay, Newfoundland. Sun Stars have a lot of arms! The cool thing about Sea Stars is their ability to grow back any arms that get inured. So if you see a Sea Star with a tiny arm, that means it's slowly growing back to its normal size.





The underside of a Sea Star.              (Photo credit: Jaclyn Pisano)

Most Sea Stars eat other animals, like mussels or snails, through the mouth on the underside of their bodies. Some Sea Stars can also push their stomachs outside of their bodies to eat their prey!!

To walk, Sea Stars have tiny little, squishy "tube feet" that act like suction cups. These tube feet are organized in lines on the underside of each arm.

Sun Star eating!         Salt Spring Island        (Photo credit: G. Gan)




When Sea Stars eat, their bodies get poofy in the middle! This means that they've surrounded their food and are having a great snack. 

Some Sea Stars keep their eggs inside of them, which can also make their bodies look poofy. Although, most Sea Stars let their eggs float off into the ocean!

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