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Starfish Eating: The animal that you know as a ‘starfish’ is receiving a new name! Aquatic biologists are proving to get people to start calling them ‘sea stars’ instead of ‘starfish’ because they are not really fish. They are actually linked to sea urchins and sand dollars, and they only reside in saltwater, not freshwater. A sea star is an invertebrate animal, which means that it does not have a backbone. There are many varied kinds of starfish, some of which can live as long as 35 years in the wild.
They are not really very small, starfish can grow to be as much as 9 inches across and they can weigh up to 11 pounds. Some starfish eats every day, while some can go much longer without eating. Believe it or not, a starfish (or sea star) is a carnivore, which means it eats other creatures. Because starfish travel very slow, they eat animals that also move slowly. They mostly feed on coral, sand dollars, clams, sponges, oysters, and mussels because these animals also tie themselves to rocks and move slowly, so they are neighboring.
Some starfish will also eat other animals, such as fish if they are injured and unfit to move away in time. Starfish also eat animals and plants that are already dead and disintegrating on the beach or in the rocks. Starfish eat in a very unusual way. They use their feet, which have suction cups on the bottom, to help them hold on to their prey. Once they have good control over dinner, they use their feet to open it up if it’s a clam or oyster.
Once it‘s opened, the starfish’s stomach actually comes out of its mouth and pushes itself inside of the clam or mussel shell. The stomach envelops the edible parts of the animal and digests it, and doesn’t return back into the starfish’s mouth until dinner is converted into a soupy liquid.
What Is Starfish?
Starfish exist to a large group of ocean only animals named Echinoderms. There are many natures of animals within the phylum Echinodermata, a few of these attributes consist of radial symmetry (symmetrical limbs around one central point), a flat body, and an absent head and tube feet. There are approximately 7,000 species of Echinoderms, which include brittle stars, sand dollars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, crinoids, as well as starfish.
While they are generally known as starfish, some publics are calling for a name variation to sea star (as they are frequently known throughout many European counties) because star ‘fish’ are not actually fish. They may locate in water like fish, but that is where the comparisons end.
They do not have scales, fins, or gills, their bodies use seawater instead of blood to rotate the nutrients, and they also use miniature tube feet to move around which sit underneath their bodies. Some starfish have up to 15,000 tube feet which prepares them to move at speeds of two-three meters per minute, which is abnormally fast for an Echinoderm.
Sea stars belong to the class Asteroidea which evolved from the Greek words ‘aster’, meaning star and ‘eidos’, meaning form, likeness, or presence. There are around 2,000 species of them covered out over the groups, all of which are aquatic animals; meaning they live solely in saltwater not freshwater.
Most of them have 5 radial symmetrical arms (ditto arms that develop around one pivotal point), however, there are species with 10, 20, and even 40 arms. They are remarkable for their exclusive ability to regrow arms when they have been harmed, and they can deliberately shed limbs if they are in danger, which is known as autotomy.
There have also been studies to show them deliberately getting rid of some of their legs when they have been exposing to high temperatures for too long. Hinging on the species, they grow between 4.7-9.4 inches and can weigh up to 11lbs. They live anywhere between 5 and 35 years.
What Do Starfish Eat?
The feed that starfish eat particularly depends on the species. Some are scavengers, some are carnivores and some have an identical diet to fish. The superiority of them are carnivorous predators and feed on abalones such as clams, oysters, and mussels which reside on the seafloor. In the wild, one sea star can eat approximately 50 small clams in a week.
Mollusks are easy for them to find and eat because they are slow-moving and generally connected to rocks and other exteriors. They will also eat small fishes and some species eat rubble, disintegrated plants, and algae. Here is a series of things that they generally eat in the sea-
- Coral Polyps
- Decomposed organic materials
- Hermit crabs
- Other starfish
- Sea snails
- Sea urchins
- Slow-moving fish
Note- Only some species eat these things.
How do a Starfish Feed?
Scientists have discovered the mysteries behind one of the most unusual feeding phenomena in the natural world – the starfish’s remarkable, retractable stomach. The realism is that starfish are actually very clever at staying alive. Their most sensitive parts, including the mouth and stomach, actually face the rocks or ground they cling to.
When a starfish has trapped a mollusk, it first drapes itself around the creature tightly. Then it uses its powerful arms to crash the muscles that hold a mollusk’s shell together, uncovering the meaty interior. After that, the starfish actually pushes its stomach out of its mouth and eats the contents of the mollusk entity. When it’s done, the starfish re-swallows its stomach and starts to digest its meal more fully.
Scientists have discovered a neuropeptide a molecule that carries signals between neurons is called NGFFYamide, which triggers the stomach to contract and retract back into the starfish.
The findings could have economic and environmental implications by providing a potential mechanism for controlling starfish predation.
Can I Eat My Aquarium Starfish?
Starfish are alluring and colorful, making them a popular appearance in aquariums. They can’t be kept alive on fish flakes, however, so you will need to be familiar with what species you have and what it would live off of in the wild. Most starfish kept in reservoirs are of the category that eats mollusks.
As such, dropping in a few clams or mussels from the supermarket is generally all they need to be happy and healthy, but be sure to shower off anything you add to the tank beforehand. Some other good ideas are algae and frozen shrimp or prawns. Most pet stores that practice in fish will have food formed for starfish, and you can also purchase food online.
The repetition of feeding mostly hinges on the species. Some starfish can go weeks without eating, while others must be fed daily. Once you have found the right habit, you’ll be able to enjoy watching your pet hunt and feed with one of the rarest methods ever seen in the animal kingdom.