How Did Starfish Get Its Name?
Marine biologists prefer to call them “sea stars” because they are not really fish at all, but echinoderms – related to sea urchins, sand dollars and other invertebrates with exoskeletons.
Five legs are typical although some species have as many as 44 legs, each with rows of tubular “feet” they use to grasp rocks and prey. Sea stars feed on clams, oysters, mussels and other echinoderms. Their tough, spiny skin protects them from predators, and they can regenerate lost limbs.
These fascinating animals are among the ocean’s most abundant creatures – more than 2,000 species worldwide. Their habitats range from shallow tropical waters along the beach to very cold the deep seabed. There are no freshwater sea stars.
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