Five facts about sea stars

"Just chilling with my mate, the sea cucumber."

“Just chilling with my mate, the sea cucumber.”

Stars and Singapore are made for each other. Just look at the Singapore flag. Five stars on it represent democracy, peace, equality, justice and progress.

Singapore just celebrated its 48th birthday on 9 Aug and in view of its special relationship with stars, read on for five fun facts about S.E.A. Aquarium’s sea stars.

1. Sea star is not a fish

That’s why at the S.E.A. Aquarium, we don’t use the name ‘starfish’. Technically, the sea star is an Echinoderm and its closest relative is a sea urchin rather than a fish. Also, it does not have scales or gills like a fish does.

2. More than five arms

While it is known to be a star, hence its five arms, there are many other species that feature some 40 arms! One example is the aptly named sunflower sea star, which has 16 to 24 arms.

Sea Star at S.E.A. Aquarium, Resorts World Sentosa

3. Retractable stomach

In quite an unusual sight, the sea star eats its food by summoning its stomach out from its mouth. The stomach then releases enzymes to break down and subsequently digest the prey. Talk about an out of body experience.

4. Sea star wears armour

Its skin might look soft and spongy but in actual fact, the sea star is a pretty hardy marine animal. Almost shell-like, the skin feels rather bony. That’s a good thing of course – predators are less inclined to eat them.

5. Regeneration power

Just in case things get hairy, the sea star can easily lose an arm to escape from their predators. Fret not, because just like how a lizard can grow its tail, the sea star can regenerate its arm. Some species can even grow a new sea star out of a severed limb!

Want to meet and feel the sea star’s rough exterior? Visit the Discovery Touch Pool at the S.E.A. Aquarium.

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