STARFISH AT CASUARINA POINT, ABACO
Kasia, a vital contributor to this blog, has supplied a number of images taken at low tide in the Casuarina Point / Cherokee Sound area on Abaco, including these excellent starfish. I’m posting them right away because starfish haven’t so far featured at all in this enterprise. Whenever I have seen them from a skiff I have been otherwise (and mostly ineffectually) engaged at the sharp end of the boat…
All images ©Kasia (c/o rollingharbour)
BAHAMAS STARFISH – 10 ESSENTIAL FACTS
- Other names include Cushioned Star and Red Cushion Sea Star
- Its invertebrate body is covered by a hard shell with raised knobbly spines
- The color of adults may be brown, orange, red, or yellow. Juveniles are mottled green (for camouflage in seagrass beds)
- Found in calm shallow waters (depths 1m – 37m), most commonly on sandy bottoms. Juveniles are usually found in seagrass beds
- Individuals can grow to 50 cm / 20″ diameter
- Adults live in dense aggregations called ‘fronts’ of 200 to 4000 individuals
- When food is scarce they can reabsorb body tissue to prevent weight loss / size decrease
- They are omnivores, feeding on micro organisms, urchins, sea cucumbers, small invertebrates, crab larvae, and sponges
- They use their ‘arms’ to rake piles of sediment and then evert the stomach, enveloping the food in its folds (don’t try this at home).
- The cushioned star is over-harvested for souvenirs and the aquarium trade, and is no longer common in areas of high human population
SEA HARES (aka SLUGS) Aplysia dactylomela
I came across this photograph online when I was looking for something else completely. As you do. I suspected some kind of sea slug which, on investigation, was right. Except that from early times these creatures have prefererred to be called Sea Hares – which is clearly more polite. The one below was found by Patti Gonsalves from CRUISE ABACO (thanks for use permission, Patti). I think I’d choose gloves to handle it too.
I had intended to include some self-taught material about these weird molluscs until I found what must be the very last word in exhaustive slug-related information at the fascinating SEA SLUG FORUM [from the Australian Museum]. It is well-worth a visit, even if you are not a slug fan, if only to admire its breadth and the model way a scientific site can be presented in an accessible way for the layman. Apart from the sea hares, I was taken with the titles of a number of articles, including Solar-powered sea slugs, Nudibranch egg masses – the direction they spiral, and (for those with Delphi Club links) Mantle flapping. And there’s plenty about land slugs too for those interested. And thus, by a hare’s breadth, you are spared my own ramblings… Photo credit ©Patti Gonsalves
To learn about Sea Hares and their defences against predators, click the link to The Abaco Scientist HERE
Ever seen a jellyfish upside down? And photographed it? Here’s one at Tilloo Cay from contributor Brigitte Carey, who says these ones are definitely to be avoided – they’re venomous and they hurt… I don’t know what exact sort it is – I’m outta here!
Stop Press: these are Mangrove Jellyfish, and I have now posted about them and their little ways… CLICK HERE