Starfishes are one of the most recognizable sea creatures on the planet, thanks to their star-like appearance, they have become one of the most popular creatures. Yet, despite being on the popular end of the spectrum, we still don’t know many things about these creatures.
Have you ever come across asking if starfish have brains? Or does your teacher at school make you recite the answer? Truly, starfishes or commonly known as sea stars, are remarkable marine creatures on our planet. If you want to learn whether these fascinating creatures have brains, then you may want to stick with us for a long stretch!
What Is A Starfish?
Before we start indulging ourselves directly in the answer, you should first learn what sea stars or starfishes are in the first place, right? Starfishes refer to almost 1,800 species of star-shaped species in the ocean.
However, despite their name, they aren’t called fishes for the same reason. Instead, starfishes belong to the family called echinoderms, a family that is composed of marine invertebrates. That’s why scientists prefer them to be called sea stars instead of starfish.
All species of starfish come in various forms, shapes, and sizes. But one of their most distinctive features is their arms which make up their entire shape. Still, most sea stars have 5 arms, and most of them resemble a star-like appearance. In some species, their arms can go up to 40, such as the sun star. All species of sea stars belong to the class of Asteroids – a class known to have a water vascular system which means sea stars don’t pump blood.
What sets them apart from being fish is because they don’t have gills to use for breathing nor fins to help them propel in the water. Sea stars don’t have scales too. However, they have eyes on each tip of their arms.
Sea stars are found in all waters across the globe, from warm, tropical, subtropical, and cold. They are commonly found near shorelines and coastal areas and are close relatives to sea urchins, sand dollars, and sea cucumbers. When you belong to the family of echinoderms, then more likely than not, you have a spiny exterior. This craggy exterior or calcified skin is their primary defense against predators.
When you flip over a starfish, you can see its tube-like feet that help them walk through the ocean floor via an internal water-driven hydraulic system. Sea stars are also known to have an amazing regenerative ability capable of regenerating severed limbs and making them into a new species or growing one as close as to the severed one.
Sea stars have all their important organs located in their arms. That’s why a severed arm can potentially grow into a new sea star.
Do Starfish Have Brains?
The simple answer to that question is NO. Despite having no brain, they have a nervous system that extends to the tip of their arms down to the central disc. They don’t pump blood and instead rely on seawater to be pumped throughout their bodies, allowing each of their organs to function as they should properly.
Interesting Facts About Sea Stars
If sea stars having no brains interest you, here are some interesting facts about them that you should know.
Being in the class of echinoderms means your body is bound to be covered with a tough and spiky exterior. And this is because of calcium carbonate. This compound is hard enough for predators to break open into their bodies. That’s why most predators flip them upside down, as this is the part where it is soft and penetrable.
As mentioned earlier, one of the most useful features sea stars have is their ability to regenerate lost body parts such as the arms. During inevitable circumstances, such as when a sea star faces a predator, they can lose an arm or two. However, their ability to regenerate their arms into new ones makes them one of the fascinating creatures. Although it may take quite a while before these arms are fully generated, it will come sooner than you think. Quite remarkable, right?
Some of them aren’t star-shaped
Almost all sea stars are shaped like stars, which is the primary reason for their name. However, not all of them conform to this attribute, and there are special cases such as the cushion starfish, which has a distinct blob-like appearance and still has all the genetic makeup of a normal starfish. They are also known to be one of the nicer species of starfish as they primarily feed on plants and detritus, whereas other starfish are carnivores who feed on oysters, mollusks, and clams.
Close relatives of brittles stars
The brittle stars or a species that belongs to the class of Ophiuroidea is also an echinoderm with 1,500 species of their kind. Brittle stars resemble a starfish but mainly inhabit the seafloor with depths ranging from 1,500 feet to 2,000 feet. Furthermore, there are also species of brittle stars that live off of the sandy and muddy regions of the low tide mark. They can be seen living with corals and sponges as well.
Not all sea stars have five arms
While the common characteristic has a 5-armed body, that’s not the case for some species of sea stars. With more than 2,000 species of sea stars, there are specific sea stars with ten arms, 20 arms, and even 50 arms!
Do Starfish have brains? Starfishes are quite fascinating marine creatures. They have lots of weird facts about them that make them a rarity on the ocean floor, but nothing should surprise you from here on out as marine life boasts some of the most unique and bizarre mysteries we have come across in our lifetime.
One of them is a starfish that has no brains but can think like one. Just imagine if some creatures have no brain, and how would they say farewell to their surroundings? Would they even thrive? I guess not. Still, starfishes are unique in their ways and have become these lovely star-shaped creatures that have come to adore and like.
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