Remember writing research papers?  I loved writing research papers!  They are so straight forward and just fact.

Anyway, this paper is about starfish.  I chose starfish because they are weird, pretty and eat with their stomachs inside out.

Starfish, often called “sea stars”, are phylum echinoderms and belong to Asteroidea class.  Starfish are technically not fish because they do not have any gills or scales; however, they are closely related to sea urchins, sand dollars and sea cucumbers.

There are approximately 2,000 “kinds” (species) of starfish and not all of them have only five arms.  Some, including the Sun Starfish can have over 20 arms.

Sun Starfish

Speaking of arms, one of the starfish’s defense mechanisms is the dropping and re-growth of their arms.  Much like a lizard, when threatened by a predator, the starfish can drop it’s arm to escape and still survive.  Many of the vital organs are within the arms of a starfish, but in some instances, starfish can slowly re-grow from just one extremity as long as a part of the starfish’s central disc is still located in that arm.

Also helping against predators is their armor.  Starfish are exoskeletons, which means that they have a hard layer made of calcium carbonate plates which protect their soft insides.  *Mmmm, soft insides.*

The life spans of starfish greatly vary depending on the species.  Some species live a limited life of five years, while others can live as long as 30+ years.

Get it on!

Although there are hermaphrodite species who care both sperm and eggs, most species have separate male and female starfish.  The males can be determined by locating the gonads (tee hee) located on the arms.  Most starfish form in groups or pair when they reproduce.  They do not mate for life (sluts).

Starfish traditionally feed on oysters, claims and snails.  To feed on such animals, the starfish pry their prey’s shells open and then push its stomach through it’s mouth into the shell and swallows the meat inside.  After digesting, I slides it’s stomach back into it’s body.  Talk about “sucking it in.”

So there is some super awesome new facts about starfish just in case you ever need to write a paper, or kick some one’s ass at trivia.  Also note that starfish don’t have blood, but do have eyes.  Take that, DataHead Cranium lovers!

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