DR GEORGE GORNACZ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. DR GEORGE GORNACZ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
The common sunstar (starfish) Solaster papposus found off Arran Island, Scotland. An echinoderm, these pliable creatures may have from five to fifty unbranched arms, although the latter figure is rare. They move by means of short, tubular podia (feet), which terminate in suction discs. These are situated in grooves along the surface nearest the substrate. The mouth is also located on the undersurface. Starfish feed on plants, microorganisms or decaying matter, depending on the species. Ciliary processes on the undersurface draw particles into the mouth. Some species can evert their stomachs through their mouth to the outside & begin plant digestion directly.
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