Starfish or sea stars are star-shaped echinoderms belonging to the class Asteroidea. Common usage frequently finds these names being also applied to ophiuroids, which are correctly referred to as brittle stars or “basket stars”. About 1,500 species of starfish occur on the seabed in all the world’s oceans, from the tropics to frigid polar waters. They are found from the intertidal zonedown to abyssal depths, 6,000 m (20,000 ft) below the surface. (Wiki)
Many years ago, in Mauritius with my young children, after visiting an eco-isle, we cooled off in the sea. The three of us swam into a galaxy of starfish, and after an initial shock, but then with the realisation that no harm would be done, we spent time amidst these fascinating animals. Tumbling across our bodies in the current, their suckered pads clung onto us, large and lumpy creatures, but fast moving. It was one of those joint memories the three of us have… “‘Do you remember when the starfish…” and we all wistfully recall that precious moment.
Since I started beach-combing, finding starfish either alive in rock pools or bleached on the shore-line, is a fairly common occurrence. Generally found with 5 arms, on occasion I have found them with 4,6 or more arms. Wonderful to photograph, I do confess to a slight collection gathered from tide-lines around Arabia and Asia….