Posted 19 November 2015
DEATH BY SUFFOCATION
Shrimps were gradually disappearing into starfish – something strange was going on in the Philippines. LISA COLLINS investigates
Posted 19 November 2015
Shrimps were gradually disappearing into starfish – something strange was going on in the Philippines. LISA COLLINS investigates
DEATH BY SUFFOCATION
SWIMMING SLOWLY over the reef investigating the nooks, crannies, sandy spits and rocky bottom, my eyes were drawn to a starfish with beautiful, mesmerising filaments that waved about in the current. I had never seen one like it.
I couldn’t identify the starfish but its colouring was unusual, bright orange and red with whitish blotches. As I looked more closely, it seemed as if the filaments were catching prey. 
I watched in fascination as a tiny shrimp became entangled in a sticky frond and was then wrapped up by several other fronds before being reeled down towards the “skin” of the starfish. 
Here, in some Alien-like process, the shrimp was absorbed, tail first, into the skin. Freakishly, its large eyes were the last part to be absorbed. 
Was this some unusual type of feeding pattern I had not heard of before? I knew that starfish can be voracious predators that feed in several different ways. 
The mouth is centrally placed beneath it, where it is protected, and the digestive system covers not only the mouth but also part of the arms.


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