Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On sea stars and bat stars

Oh my stars, who knew yesterday's post would raise so many interesting marine life questions!

As near as I can tell, a bat star or sea bat (above), is a type of sea star or starfish. Now, doesn't that sound Dr. Seuss-ish? Anyway, they are both in the echinoderm family, meaning they both have spiny skin.

The bat star is webbed between its arms and it doesn't have pincers for cleaning at the end of its arms. It has little hairs instead. It grows up to about eight inches. Bat stars hang out in the Pacific Ocean from Alaska down to California. When two bat stars meet, they stop and have a little friendly arm wrestle.

Sea stars do have pincers at the ends of their arms. Sea stars can be anywhere from 1/2 inch to 3 feet in size. There are over 1800 speciies and they are found in all of Earth's oceans.

Did you know that sea stars are harvested with a mop-like device? The sea stars readily attach themselves to the mop thing, after which they're plucked off, then ground up and sold as fertilizer and poultry feed. Moral of the story: be careful what or who you glom onto.

The sea stars' biggest talent is its ability to regenerate from even a little bit of an arm.

Take this post with a huge grain of sea salt; I am no marine biologist, just an internet surfer.

And, now, for your viewing pleasure...

Here's a snake star. My favorite.


Here's a serpent star.


Here's a basket star.


(from: www.edu/restoration/html, www.indyzoo.com, www.montereybayaquarium.com)

19 comments:

deboradale said...

Barrie,
This is a wonderful little lesson on marine life! I'm passing it on to my homeschooled daughter and I will have her research it some more. Thank you!
I have to say, I was fascinated, was reading along in wonder, and then came to a screeching halt when you mentioned they ground those babies up! OMG!! Awful. Awful. But thank you for that information.

~Debbie

Christina Phillips said...

I've always thought starfish are kind of cute, but 3 feet across?! OMG that's just scary!

Bina said...

They ground them up for fertilizer? That just sounds so wrong.

Those are just so cool! And very interesting. 1800 species??? I would NEVER have guessed.

Monnik said...

Be careful who you glom onto. Ha! I also think it sounds awful that we ground them up for fertilizer. whatever happened to good old fashioned poo as a fertilizer?? we can't be having a shortage of that these days...

Mrs. Annie said...

Very cool!

Lisa said...

Thanks for clarifying this for me. You may not be a marine biologist, but you play one on the internet ;)

Patti said...

that first pic looks like a bunch of chocolate starfish....mmmm, chocolate starfish.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

We have hermit crabs, seaweed and jellyfish. Sometimes life just doesn't seem fair...

Katie said...

I love those pictures! the snake star looks really cool, my favorite too! though it kind of reminds me of candy...not sure why! haha

WordVixen said...

Kind of creepy actually. It's funny, when I saw your picture of the sea bat yesterday, I immediately pictured every Disney cartoon that I've ever seen where a character ended up with what I thought was a star fish on its face. :)

Sarakastic said...

You are so much better than a marine biologist because I actually understood this & the pictures were pretty.

Beth said...

the basket star is very pretty. The things you learn from a blog!!!

Family Adventure said...

I'm showing this to my 11 yr old. He'll be fascinated. Great little lesson here :)

Heidi

Laura said...

Very cool and very interesting...thanks!

~Virginia~ said...

great pictures--i'm a visual kind of person. :)

Beth said...

They are so beautiful! Those photos almost make me want to learn how to scuba dive.

Shelli said...

so interesting....beautiful pictures.

Angela said...

Interesting stuff.

Maureen McGowan said...

Very cool.

And this made me laugh out loud. In public. Thanks.

"Moral of the story: be careful what or who you glom onto."