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Specieswatch: the strange and amazing common starfish

The creatures have thrived for 450 million years and possess some remarkable characteristicsThe common starfish, Asterias rubens, is inedible, useless as bait and has zero commercial value. Such is the damning verdict of shoreline anglers on a species that has been thriving for 450 million years. After winter storms they are often seen stranded on beaches but otherwise in summer are found by delighted children in rock pools around British coasts. Also known as sea stars because of their five arms, specimens are usually orange or brown and grow to 10 to 30cm (11.8 inches) across, although sometimes larger depending on the food supply.They are strange creatures, spiny on top and able to move around on small bumpy tubes on their underside. They have cells that "smell" prey and detect light. Chop them up and each piece will regrow into new starfish provided a part of the central core remains in each piece. But perhaps their most remarkable feature is the ability to turn their stomachs inside out through the mouth to absorb prey and then suck the stomach back into the body. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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