True Facts about sea stars (and related echinoderms)

April 9, 2022 • 2:00 pm

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”.

10 thoughts on “True Facts about sea stars (and related echinoderms)

  1. I find it painful to watch, the jokes are too abnoxious and distracting. But even if one could numb oneself to it, it’s still a mere eye candy that’s rather superficially informative.

    1. I think the idea of this under 20 minute video is not to give in depth information, but to show how special, fascinating and varied echinoderms are.
      And he didn’t even mention seacucumbers.
      Beautiful and exceptional footage, enchanting eye and brain candy.

  2. Great video! In my wildest imagination, I couldn’t have dreamed up those weapons these creatures use on each other.
    The amount of slime from that starfish was unbelievable.

  3. Saving this for some quality time.

    [ channels inner ZeFrank ]

    “… no, Jerry, that’s not what “quality time” means – Jerry I — I don’t need to know that, do I? I only mean that this should be so good that I have to wait for when I have no distractions – full stop. Get it?”

  4. Brilliant video! From the credits, this was a great collaborative effort. I love the tube feet footage.

  5. I had to pause at “it looks like a drowning burlesque dancer” because I was laughing so hard. He’s wonderful. Thank you for posting this. They are such weird creatures, and he is a perfect narrator for them.

  6. what Darwin called “endless forms most beautiful and wonderful”.

    For certain values of “most beautiful” which are not exactly mainstream-hoomin values of “beautiful”.

    Most echinoderms are current-fertilizers, aren’t they? So from a fitness p.o.v., “most successful” probably correlates closely with “gonad volume”.

  7. Sorry, but did I just hear that the next privately run crew to the ISS will include a crew member chosen by a “reality TV programme”?

    I may be getting the catch-phrase wrong, never having wasted more than seconds per year on the genre, but are we looking at a potential future “4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … Donald Trump, you’re FIRED!” ?

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