Starfish also are known as sea stars are the attractive marine animals present in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Each starfish looks like a star and, although the most common has only five arms, some of these animals can produce up to 40. Its wild habitats include rocky beaches, sandy bottom, coral reefs or even in the deep sea.
These amazing sea creatures, belonging to a group of animals called as echinoderms, travel using their tube-shaped legs. They are capable of regenerating the lost limbs and swallow large prey with their unusual stomach. This raises a question how long does a starfish live.
Origin of Starfish
The starfish is a member of phylum Echinodermata. They have a complex radial nervous system that extends throughout the body. This nervous system allows the starfish to sense light, touch, temperature, direction, and condition of the water. Since there is no central brain, it can’t plan the actions.
The actions are well-defined by the sensory stimulation and the mechanism is not yet completely understood. For example, a star cannot plan its prey, but if one of its arms touches the food, it will take control of it and drive the starfish to the food. That’s what helps starfish survive.
Although the starfish lives underwater, however, it is not a real fish. They do not have scales, gills, or fins like fish. Starfish also move very differently from fish. While the fish are pushed with their tails, the starfish has small tubular feet to help them move. Because it is not classified as a fish, scientists like to call the starfish as sea stars.
Survival of Starfish
For a marine animal that has no brain and feeds from the inside, the starfish are beautiful and unique creatures. Starfish predators include sharks, stingrays, some types of fish and even other starfish. Because of the low speed and inability of sea stars to defend themselves, these marine animals are preyed by a wide range of marine animals, including crabs, seabirds, sharks, fish, and humans.
Starfish can also threaten by humans, pollution, and diseases. Their low speed can expose them to the risk of being dragged to the coast, where they cannot move fast enough to return to the water. Unless the tide turns them over, they may dry out and die or become food for wild animals such as sea otters and seabirds.
Life Span of Starfish
Coming to the question of how long does a starfish live? There are about 2,000 species of sea stars live in all the oceans of the World, from tropical habitats to cold ocean bottoms.
The five armed varieties are the most common, but there are types containing ten, twenty and even forty weapons. With thousands of species of starfish in the ocean, the lifespan of all the species is very different. In general, older starfishes live longer than younger species. Starfish can live up to 35 years in nature depending upon the type of species.