Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Star Fish (Sea star, Asteroidea)

Star fish are among the beauties of the sea. They are only distantly related fish and are, therefore, sometimes called ‘sea star’. They come in different colors and sizes. According to one estimate there are over 3000 types of star fish. They are found in all the oceans but the tropical Indo-Pacific area has the greatest variety.

The star fish is a pretty but unusual creature. It has no front or back, but can navigate to any side without turning. The hundreds of legs of a star fish are moved not with muscles but by an intricate hydraulic system. The star fish can position its arms appropriately to slide into tiny nooks.

Star fish are marine invertebrates. Most of them are carnivores and eat different types of marine life like mussels, clams, oysters and fish. Some feed on planktons, sponges and coral polyps.

Star fish grow up to ten inches in size depending on the species. They are normally found at depths of 1’ to 25/30’. Generally the life span of a star fish is three to five years, but some live longer.

The photos (© KO Isaac) of top and bottom views of star fish shown above were taken on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, India.


Click on photos for enlarged view.

Also see: Travel: Beaches off the beaten track

No comments: