Who does not love to come across a big, white (all in one piece) starfish when walking along the seashore? Well, you might find a starfish that you wouldn’t recognize as such because they can look very different than what we typically think.
Starfish are really sea stars and although you probably think of them as white with five legs, some can have a lot more, such as the “crown of thorns” shown in this picture.
Sea stars are “echinoderms” along with sea urchins, sea cucumbers and sand dollars. They have an exoskeleton and radial symmetry which means that all their legs grow from a central body. They can be found in an array of colors including red and purple and found in shapes that don’t look anything like you’d expect.
The feather sea star has long feathery legs which it uses to grab it’s food as it clings to coral or sea fans. The feather star can look something like a colorful underwater shrub. The crown of thorns sea star is quite an amazing looking creature with spikes all over it (pictured here).
The sea star is always found living in salt water. Usually the best place to look for them is around rocks and in shallow water. They are nocturnal to avoid predators. This fascinating marine life is even able to regenerate limbs and divide themselves to become two!
I posted a video on my Squidoo page showing a diver gently turning a sea star over so we can watch it right itself. I find it an amazing video but some people think it should have been left along. Watch the video and leave your comment here: Flipping Starfish.