Jan 28, 2009

Star Light, Star Bright

Wait, what's this? Cute little seastars? Wombat, I've bought pillow versions of these and slept on them. If anything, this photo makes me want to eat some lemon meringue pie.




















I know, the cushion star isn't ugly by any means. It's almost adorable, with its poofy nubs for arms and radial symmetry. At worst it deserves a starring role in Sponge Bob Square Pants.

























I'ts not until you hold Pteraster tesselatus, aka cushion star or slime star, or see it threatened that, its true nature is revealed. That's right. That's slime. Oodles and oodles of it.

Native to the Pacific coastline from the Bering Sea to Carmel Bay, California, this seastar secretes a copious amount of slime as a defense mechanism. Predatory fish and mollusks have been known to suffocate after being smothered with seastar slime.

It may not be pretty, but if it works, it works. I'm wondering if you can use seastar slime in place of egg whites, just like with hagfish slime. Anyone care to find out?

Thanks, Jelo.

13 comments:

Ugly Deaf Muslim Punk Gurl! said...

It's still cute! And I want a piece of that lemon meringue pie, too....

Denita TwoDragons said...

...bless you! *hands sea star a tissue*

--TwoDragons

niner said...

How adorable! We saw these on our honeymoon in Hawaii and they were just the cutest things. We got to touch and pick them up, but they must have been happy because no slime was involved.

Is this more or less slime than the hagfish? Bwaha.

Anonymous said...

Hey "You can't do that on tele...er, the internet!"

Anonymous said...

Looks like slimey here has a bad sinus infection. Might want to try a Neti pot...

Victorya said...

There has to be an application for that slime, lubricant perhaps? Burn cream? Use it on ice skates and stuff?

Danielle said...

I love these things. I was heartbroken in biology when I had to dissect one.

*sniff*

Markin said...

Oh lordy ... natto in starfish form. Bon appetit.

Raging Wombat said...

Please, no natto. Natto tastes like you've just bitten into mushy, unwashed gym socks.

Markin said...

I'd much rather eat the natto than bite into that starfish ... :)

jynxkat said...

so- what keeps the starfish from suffocating in its own slime? can starfish hold their breath or do they just require less oxygen than other critters?

Anonymous said...

But is it self-replicating slime like the hagfish? That stuff is unbelievable how they can transform a whole bucket of water into slime almost instantly.

Benjamin said...

Sea Stars were always the most popular creature at the oceanarium I worked at (pretty much tied with our moon snails). It was quite fun doing our touch tank talk with these guys. My favorite fact was that some species can regenerate all their legs back as long as the center disk and one leg remains.