Posted 9 years ago
This is a dry-preserved Common Starfish. Picture 1 is a top view and picture 2 is a bottom (belly) view. - This one is 4 to 4 1/2" from Florida
*** Starfish are carnivorous ocean animals that usually have five starlike arms. They are related to brittle stars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers, all of which are known as echinoderms. Like these animals, starfish have spiny skins. They have radially arranged arms which hold locomotor tube feet, and which reach diameters from six inches to four feet. They are abundant at all ocean depths and occur in all oceans except near the North and South Poles. Often, a starfish escapes its enemies by breaking off one or more of its arms, which regenerates. In fact, it's organs are contained in the arms so if a starfish is halved, quartered, or cut into smaller pieces, each becomes a new individual. Starfish skin is leathery and has protective spines, which point upward. The spines are made of lime and develop from the skeleton. The animal also has a large gut, a complex system of body cavities, and a nervous system but no brain. The central body of a starfish is located where its arms join. Its bottom surface holds a mouth at the point where all the arms meet. A groove also stretches from the mouth to each arm tip. There are rows of holes in the grooves from which tube feet can push out. The feet, with sucker ends, enable crawling. They are supported and moved by an internal hydraulic system inflated with seawater. Most of the central body is a baglike stomach into which the mouth opens. Starfish also have well-developed senses of touch, smell, and taste, and respond to light. However, they lack the complex behavior patterns of animals having brains.