We found a Patrick- Sponge Bob’s best friend!

Wow our very first star fish/ Sea star ever found! We found this gorgeous African Red Knob Sea star in Sodwana Bay’s Rock pools while snorkeling!

We were on our way to go snorkel in a nearby tidal pool when Tom suddenly saw a bright red star with a grey body clinging to one of the rocks in a shallow pool. At first I thought it might be a toy until it started moving slowly, Tom wanted to touch it, but I cautioned him not to touch it just in case it might be poisonous (Not venomous!)?

He then decided to try pick it up with the GoPro and took it out the water to take better pics. It was really huge.

Never expected a star fish could get that big – we estimate this starfish was about 20 – 25cm diameter. They can grow up to 30cm in diameter.

These Starfish are apparently a prize to keep in an aquarium and are actually nocturnal… Hmmm wonder what this one was doing up so late in broad daylight? Like all sea creatures I would prefer admiring these gorgeous creatures in the sea and having the joy and excitement of been able to find such a creature in the sea rather than captivity seeing them miserable in someone’s house!

I always get super excited finding new sea creatures I never imagined could exist and can’t help myself finding out all the amazing fun facts about our new found species… So here are a few fun facts about these beautiful creatures!

 

Fun facts:

  • These starfish like the warm ocean as they are only found in the indo-pacific ocean!
  • The African Red Knob Sea star is also commonly known as the red knob sea star, red spine star or the African sea star (Scientific name – Protoreaster linckii).
  • Now anybody who has held a starfish dead or alive or just seen a starfish would consider this creature to be more like part of some sortof coral, but in actual fact is classified as an animal not plant!
  • These starfish can grow up to 30 cm in diameter. That as long as a standard ruler which in my opinion is rather large for something I always imagined being small!
  • Its body is grey and the red lines and knobs are actually tubercles making its appearance look like it has a really messy circuit board on its back!
  • These stars can be found in shallow tidal pools and love to hang out with coral up to 100m deep – one of their main food sources lives on coral!
  • These poor starfish are great pets for aquariums, but are very incompatible with most reef tanks as they eat soft corals, sponges, tube worms, clams, other starfish, and the like! So why not just leave it in the sea where it can be controlled by nature!
  • Like most starfish they have 5 arms, their bellies are red and they have pink podia’s(feet) with a central mouth like all starfish do!
  • I never knew a creature could do this – The red knobbed starfish has no teeth to consume its prey, instead it will push out its stomach from the inside out and consume its prey afterwards it will retract its stomach back into its mouth and carry on digesting its food! I mean is this thing something from an alien horror movie or something. That sounds really gross and out of this world!!!
  • “Once the starfish has a clam in its arms, it pries the mollusks shell open and release its stomach into the shell. The stomach has very strong digestive juices that kills and liquefies the animal inside the shell. Once the mollusk is dead, the stomach sucks up the animal, brings in its stomach, and leaves the empty shell on the ocean floor.” – Quote from: Branson’s Wild World
  • Starfish do not have brains and use filtered sea water as blood. These creatures become more insane the more you read about them

References: Wikipedia, Branson’s Wild World, Pets on Mom