12 Interesting Facts About Starfish for Kids
Starfish are some of the unique creatures that inhabit the ocean. They are from a family of animals called ‘echinoderms’ – this means that their body has a central point around which the other body parts are. Scientists estimate that more than 2000 starfish species are living in the oceans! Starfish are also called Sea Stars, and most of them look like stars with their five-pointed arms. Many things about this fascinating animal will surprise you – let us look at the 12 most interesting facts about starfish.
12 Interesting Facts About Starfish for Kids
1. Starfish are not fish at all.
Even though starfish live in the oceans and have ‘fish’ in their name; they cannot be called fish. To be in the fish species, they must have fins, scales, gills, tails, etc., like any other fish. Starfish also do not swim, as fish do. Instead, they use their tube-like feet to walk across the ocean floor slowly. This is why scientists often do not refer to them as ‘fish’ but as ‘sea stars.’ Read on to find out why.
2. Not all starfish look like stars.
Even though their name suggests that their shape is like a star, this is not always true. Starfish are primarily star-shaped, but some starfish look nothing like a star. For example, the cushion starfish is round in shape – like a blob, even though its internal body structure is like a regular starfish. Apart from this, there are some unique species within starfish whose shape is not a star.
3. Starfish do not have a brain.
It is difficult to imagine how starfish live in the ocean without having a brain. Their nervous system is absent, meaning that they do not need their brains to move their limbs or do any other actions as we do. The lack of a brain does not make them foolish because they are pretty skilled in escaping predators.
4. Starfish move or walk using hundreds of tube feet.
The starfish have hundreds of tube feet attached to their body on the underside. There is seawater inside the tube feet. These feet are sturdy and quick and help the starfish catch hold of their prey.
5. Starfish have eyes.
Even though it may not look like it, starfish do have eyes. Their eyes are at a small spot at the end of their arms. The more components the starfish have, the more eyes it will have. Their eyes are not that sharp, but they can sense the changes in light and dark.
6. Starfish have hard, calcium skin.
A thick, wall-like armor protects starfish from predators and dangers. The calcium skin is made of plates, which can often be prickly. This armor is usually on their upper side and protects them from birds, larger fish, etc.
7. Starfish do not have any blood.
Starfish do not have a brain or blood in their body. The starfish’s circulatory system comprises seawater instead of blood. Just like blood pumps into our heart and throughout our body, seawater pumps into the starfish’s water vascular system. Then the water reaches their feet, allowing them to move their arms and feet and retract their limbs. There is a lot of seawater around them, so they will never suffer from a lack of it.
8. Starfish can grow their arms again.
Starfish can regenerate. It means that they can regrow their arms if they lose them to a predator. Since it has a regenerative ability, the starfish will escape the predator and regrow an arm later. Their arms have some of their main body parts like eyes and take very long to grow back. In case they lose an arm, they will regrow it over a period of a year or more. Sometimes, a severed arm can even turn into an identical starfish on its own. This is one of the methods of reproduction in starfish. Keep reading to learn more about it.
9. Starfish have stomachs outside their body.
Starfish have an inside-out stomach. Starfish have mouths on the underside of their body. When they catch their food, it gets stuck to their body due to the tiny suction cups attached to them. After this, their stomachs come out of their body to take the food in. Once the food is digested, the stomach recedes back into the body. Because of this, they can eat much larger animals than themselves!
10. Male and female starfish look identical.
There is no way for us to identify if a starfish is male or female. They both look the same. Most sea animals have only one method to give birth to younglings. Since starfish have no separate male or female roles, they can reproduce in two different ways. The first method is sexual reproduction. Adult starfish will release sperm and eggs into the water. This will produce the swimming larvae until they are old enough to settle on the ocean floor. Once they settle down, they can grow into adult starfish. The second method is asexual reproduction. A new starfish will be born through regeneration. Regeneration is when one body part of the parent is lost. For example, a new starfish will be born through this arm.
11. A starfish can have up to 40 arms.
The most common starfish are the ones that have five arms. But that is not always the case. As mentioned earlier, starfish have more than 2000 species. One of them is called the sun star, or the sun starfish which is famous for having up to 40 arms (making it look like the sun!).
12. ‘Starfish’ is the wrong name for them.
Scientists believe that ‘starfish’ is not the right name for them. They should always be called ‘Sea Star’. As they do not have gills, scales, or any fish-related body parts, they are not really fish.
Starfish are extremely intelligent when it comes to surviving in the ocean. Even without a brain and an elaborate nervous system, they look out for themselves and are adept at escaping. The next time you spot a starfish, remember that not all of them look like stars, or have five arms, among many other interesting facts!