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Sea stars, often referred to as starfish, are boneless echinoderms related to the sand dollar or sea urchin, and not fish at all. More than 2,000 species occupy oceans all over the world. Species vary widely in appearance, [4]  from the familiar five-armed specimen to its 40-armed cousin. Like all other echinoderms, sea stars do not have heads, eyes, blood or brains. Instead  [5] their bodies grow outward in a radial pattern, ending in suckered, water-filled feet. 

Though soft on the inside, sea stars have a bone-like sturdy skin, and an uncanny ability to camouflage themselves, both of which offer protection from many would-be predators. If attacked, the sea star also boasts a second line of defense; it will pull itself apart, leaving the attacker with only an arm while the rest escapes to safety. The relatively unharmed sea star regenerates any missing limbs. Some species, such as the crown-of-thorns starfish, have more active defenses and sport sharp, poison-tinted spines. 
 

Sea stars are ruthless carnivores and frequently cannibals, feasting on living flesh, and blindly scouring the floor surface for easy prey. When their feet eventually touch a mussel, clam, coral or a smaller starfish, they regurgitate their entire stomach, literally turning themselves inside-out. The mouth is located on the bottom of the body, so the sea star pushes out its stomach onto or into the soft part of its prey, and its now-exposed digestive juices absorb the victim. 
 
Defenses 
 
Though soft on the inside, sea stars have a bone-like sturdy skin, and an uncanny ability to camouflage themselves, both of which offer protection from many would-be predators. If attacked, the sea star also boasts a second line of defense; it will pull itself apart, leaving the attacker with only an arm while the rest escapes to safety. The relatively unharmed sea star regenerates any missing limbs. Some species, such as the crown-of-thorns starfish, have more active defenses and sport sharp, poison-tinted spines.


Other Starfish 
 
[8] Sea stars are ruthless carnivores and frequently cannibals, feasting on living flesh, and blindly scouring the floor surface for easy prey. When their feet eventually touch a mussel, clam, coral or a smaller starfish, they regurgitate their entire stomach, literally turning themselves inside-out. The mouth is located on the bottom of the body, so the sea star pushes out its stomach onto or into the soft part of its prey, and its now-exposed digestive juices absorb the victim. 
 

Sea Otters & Sea Birds



Starfish often use their suckered feet to secure themselves to surface rocks while in search of prey. Here they wait, unmoving, for weeks. If the rock is not adequately hidden, they may be devoured by hungry otters or birds. Not able to penetrate the starfish's armor-like outer layer, an otter will rip off an arm, or pull off the tip, and suck out the gooey innards. Birds, such as sea gulls, are able to use their hard, sharp beaks to penetrate the skin.


Triton Trumpet Snail



This large snail, reaching lengths up to 20 inches, hunts sea stars, specifically the crown-of-thorns starfish. Once it has located the venomous victim, it injects the sea star with paralyzing saliva, then uses its teeth to bore through the tough skin and suck out soft tissue. One of the few animals immune to the starfish's poison, the trumpet snail is [11] pivotal in maintaining a healthy reef environment. In areas like the Phillipines where the snail is over-hunted for its beautiful shell, sea star populations spiral out of control.



Read more: Animals That Feed on Sea Stars | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_8563560_animals-feed-sea-stars.html#ixzz1t0k8ySA8
 
 
 
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