02 Feb Fact Friday – Starfish
Yesterday we headed up to Simons Town to drop my pops off as their finally headed out and making their way up to their final destination – Mozambique.
Fysh and I sat around on Adrenalyn while the boys did fuel runs, stocked up on groceries etc. Fysh is so comfortable on a yacht, there is no fear in that kid at all, he reminds me of myself when I was running around on yachts, for some reason despite having my yacht masters I just ain’t as comfortable on them anymore. It’s weird. I can still easily move about but it doesn’t really feel right anymore.
That aside, I was really impressed with FBYC, it’s so clean in comparison to The RCYC! The water was clean enough that I saw I guy swimming laps without worrying about contracting some weird bacteria, the water didn’t have rainbows on it from all the oil and we could see all the starfish on the rocks and little schools of fish swimming about.
There were so many starfish we actually lost count. Right in front of the yacht it was like a little congregation of them. I tried snapping a photo but it’s rather shitty quality – I took it on my phone while trying not to drop it.
Five Fabulous Facts
Sea Stars Are Not Fish – Although sea stars live underwater and are commonly called “starfish,” they are not true fish. They do not have gills, scales, or fins like fish do. Sea stars also move quite differently from fish. While fish propel themselves with their tails, sea stars have tiny tube feet to help them move along. They can move very quickly, too. Because they are not classified as fish, scientists prefer to call starfish “sea stars.”
Not All Sea Stars Have Five Arms – While you might be most familiar with the five-armed species of sea stars, not all of them have just five arms. Some species have many more arms. For instance, the sun star can have up to 40 arms.
Sea Stars Are Protected by Armor – Depending on the species, a sea star’s skin may feel leathery or it may be slightly prickly. Sea stars have a tough covering on their upper side, which is made up of plates of calcium carbonate with tiny spines on their surface.
Sea Stars Have Eyes – It may surprise you that starfish do have eyes. They’re just not where you might expect. While they can’t see as well as we do, sea stars have an eye spot at the end of each arm. This means that a five-armed sea star has five eyes with the 40-arm sun star has 40 eyes. Their eyes are very simple and look like a red spot. The eye doesn’t see much detail but it can sense light and dark, which is just enough for the environments they live in.
Sea Stars Eat With Their Stomachs Inside-Out – Sea stars prey on bivalves like mussels and clams, as well as small fish, snails, and barnacles. If you’ve ever tried to pry the shell of a clam or mussel open, you know how difficult it is. However, sea stars have a unique way of eating these creatures. A sea star’s mouth is on its underside. When they catch their food, a sea star will wrap its arms around the animal’s shell and pull it open just enough. Then it does something amazing. The sea star pushes its stomach through its mouth and into the bivalve’s shell. It then digests the animal and slides its stomach back into its own body. This unique feeding mechanism allows the sea star to eat larger prey than it would otherwise be able to fit into its tiny mouth.