Animals of the world, Sea star/Starfish

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  • The Sea star is an echinoderm, closely related to sea urchins and sand dollars. They occupy every type of habitat, including tidal pools, rocky shores, seagrass, kelp beds, and coral reefs.
  • The five-arm varieties are the most common, hence their name, but species with 10, 20, and even 50 arms exist.
  • As well as their tough, prickly, armour-like skin,  many species are brightly coloured in various shades of red or orange, while others are blue, grey or brown
  • Their arms are covered with pincer-like organs and suckers that allow the animal to slowly creep along the ocean floor
  • Beyond their distinctive shape, sea stars are famous for their ability to regenerate limbs, and in some cases, entire bodies. Regrowth can take several months or years
  •  In some species such as Nepanthia belcheri, a large female can split in half and the resulting offspring are males. When these grow large enough, they change back into females
  • Most species are generalist predators, eating microalgae, sponges, bivalves, snails and other small animals
  • Starfish may be preyed on by, other starfish species, tritons, crabs, fish, gulls, and sea otters
  • The life span of a starfish varies considerably between species