|Photo Credit: https://cornishrockpools.com|
The European starfish, which is all legs and has no real head, seems a strange creature. It uses it suction feet to crawl along the seabed and to grasp its prey. With these suction feet, it can even pry open mussel and clam shells.
The bodies of starfish are very different from those of most other animals. The European starfish has five identical arms radiating from a flat central area, and other starfish have as many as 50 arms. The central area contains a mouth (on the bottom), and the anus (on top), and a main stomach organs in between.
Bony plates in the starfish's body give it support. All over the surface there are tiny pincers that snap shut to defend against creatures that try to settle on the starfish.
Some starfish filter nutritious particles from the water, but most, including the European starfish, are predators. They eat sponges, corals, worms, mollusks, crustaceans, other starfish, and small fish. They use their tube feet to detect prey from chemical signals in the water and to ensnare their victims.
Did you know?
- Adult starfish consume three times their weight in food every day. Young starfish may eat 10 times their body weight.
- Although they are named "starfish", they are not related to fish at all. Starfish belong to the group of marine invertebrates which also include sea cucumber, sea urchin and sand dollar.
- Typical predators of the starfish are sea otters, rays, sharks, seagulls and different types of fish.