Davao Diary: The Sea Star

But lets go back to before supper. The menfolk went snorkeling for the day- Will’s first time ever. They brought back pictures, which reminded me much of taking my oldest two snorkeling in the East China Sea when they were preschoolers nearly 30 years ago- including the lovely blue starfish pictured… .somewhere. Probably FB.

Starfish are in the echinoderm family, which includes sea urchins, sea cucumbers, brittle stars, and sand dollars. They are echinoderms because they generally have spiny, or at least pointy, skins. The points maybe quite blunted, they don’t have to be needle sharp. Human beings have bilateral symmetry- two arms, two legs, two eyes, etc, and arranged in such a way that if you drew a line down our center, from top to bottom, we’d roughly match up on each side. Echinoderms are radially symmetrical, rather than two sides, what I remember from marine zoology course is that they can be divided into five symmetrical parts-( the word for that is pentamerous, and in case you are thinking I am really smart, I had to go look it up because I didn’t remember).
If you can ever go to a beach or aquarium and observe them, you should. What we call the arms of a star fish are really both arms and their legs. They have thousands of tiny little tube feet inside those legs. But they also use those ‘legs’, the rays of the star, to grab onto things like shellfish and pull them apart so they can eat the insides. However, they can only pull the oyster apart a small bit, so the starfish pushes its stomach out of its mouth and into the barely opened shell, envelops the oyster meat, and then goes back inside the starfish! A starfish’s mouth is underneath, in the very center the star. They can grow new arms when they lose the old one (some of them can grow a new starfish from the leg!).

If you want to know more, you should read here: http://www.icr.org/article/gods-amazing-invertebrates-links-are, where you can learn more about: “The sea star’s water vascular system is one of the more amazing arrangements in the animal world. Each of the five arms has a radial canal in a groove running down its length. In each of these canals are found hundreds of muscular, hollow, fluid-filled tube feet. The Creator designed these tiny tube feet with a foot (podium) and bulb (ampulla) attached to it. Adhesive chemicals secreted at the ends of the foot allow the animal to pull itself over the ocean floor or firmly attach to its favorite food, the clam. To disengage the foot, a specially designed organic solvent is secreted and the podium is hydraulically shortened. What is left behind is an adhesive signature “smudge.” ”

“For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” Hebrews 3:4.

I’ll upload a couple pics on FB. More the next time the blog allows me to post.

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