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Common starfish feeding

Common starfish feeding

Z550/0043

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Credit

PETER SCOONES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER SCOONES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Common starfish feeding. The common starfish (Asterias rubens) attacking mussels on the seabed. It is a carnivore, feeding on bivalves, gastropods and crabs. This starfish attaches suction tips, on the underside of its feet, to the prey's shell. This allows it to pull the two halves of the prey's shell apart. It then extrudes its stomach through its mouth, on the lower (oral) side of its body, into the gap between the prey's shell. Here it releases digestive juices, to digest the prey into a soft mass, before pulling its stomach back inside its body. This starfish is found in European coastal waters, living at a depth of up to 200 metres. Photographed off the British Isles.

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