ZeFrank, while remaining witty and funny, is getting more and more into the biological details of his presentations and documenting them using the scientific literature. The videos are remarkably accurate, and this 18-minute documentary of starfish is quite absorbing—to both me and Matthew, at least. Although ZeFrank concentrates on morphology and function, evolution is always there lurking in the background. And the photography, as always is stunning.
(There’s a commercial from 4:40 to 5:40.)
I liked the discussion of tube feet, walking in brittle stars, the brittle star tussle for food, the starfish nervous system, the compound eyes on their arms, how a sea star eats a clam, the “flower sea urchin” and its nefarious traps, and ejection of parts of the body into the water that chomp on and inject venom into nearby prey. Not to mention the breakable stalks of sea lilies that, like the breakable tail of some lizards, help a seized animal escape predators. Finally, don’t miss the starfish expelling tons of toxic slime at 14:22, or the display of regenerated arms soon thereafter.
It’s a great display of what Darwin called “endless forms most beautiful and wonderful”.